CRYPTOCOCCOSIS

Cryptococcosis is transmitted through inhalation, mainly affects the lungs, and causes infection. A large number of patients have asymptomatic, self-limiting primary lung infections. Even without antifungal medication, these isolated pulmonary diseases in immunocompetent individuals usually heal spontaneously without spreading.

A fungus named Cryptococcus neoformans causes cryptococcosis. This infection spreads through exposure to pigeon excrement, unwashed raw produce, or sick individuals. People with weaker immune systems, undergoing organ transplants, cancer treatment, and those diagnosed with HIV-AIDS are more vulnerable to this fungus infection.

After acquiring cryptococcus through inhalation, it can spread from the lungs to the brain, meninges and cause tiny multifocal intracerebral lesions. It’s possible to see meningeal granulomas and bigger concentrated brain lesions. Although lung involvement is rare, cryptococcal meningitis is fatal and needs intensive treatment.

SYMPTOMS

Cryptococcosis symptoms vary depending on the area infected.

  • Skin. Skin lesions caused by disseminated cryptococcosis cause similar symptoms with acne, basal cell carcinoma, or molluscum contagiosum.
  • Lungs. Countless infected patients are asymptomatic. Cough and other ambiguous respiratory symptoms are common in people who have pneumonia. AIDS-related cryptococcal pulmonary infection, on the other hand, can display as progressive, severe pneumonia with acute dyspnea and a Pneumocystis infection that can be seen on an x-ray pattern.
  • Central nervous system. Cryptococcal infections in the central nervous system can cause meningitis in immunocompromised people, as seen on MRI as significant focal brain lesions. Since the inflammation isn’t severe in asymptomatic patients, they usually have a low fever or none at all, with a rare occurrence of meningismus. Blindness can also occur due to edema in the brain or direct involvement of the optic tracts.

DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosis of this infection relies on proof that Cryptococcus neoformans are present on the body tissue or bodily fluid.

In some cases, the development of the fungi may be detected using a light microscope; in other cases, the organism must be grown from the patient’s fluid samples. Commercial kits are available for an immunological test to identify the antigen that will be activated in the body to combat this fungus if it is there.

TREATMENT

Antifungal medications such as Amphotericin B, Flucytosine, and Fluconazole treat cryptococcosis. Since these drugs can have severe side effects, it’s critical to keep a close eye on how they’re being used. People with autoimmune diseases or undergoing immunotherapy should be given long-term drug treatment to avoid relapses.

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