This fungus is monomorphic, which means that it only exists as one form at all temperatures.
This organism is encapsulated, which allows it to evade phagocytosis.
Cryptococcus neoformans contains a polysaccharide capsule that is able to undergo phenotypic switching and change capsule structure to further increase virulence.
This organism has narrow-based buds off of the yeast, in contrast to blastomycosis which has broad-based buds.
This disease can be detected using a latex agglutination test, which involves antibody-coated latex beads that will bind to antigen present in the assay.
This disease can be obtained by inhaling soil containing pigeon droppings, which contains the organism. There is no person-to-person transmission.
Diagnosis can be made using an India ink stain of the organism in the CSF, which will appear as oval yeast with a surrounding clear halo.
This organism can be stained with a mucicarmine stain, which stains the polysaccharide capsule a bright red.
This disease most commonly affects immunocompromised patients, in particular, patients with poor cell-mediated immunity. Patients on chronic corticosteroid therapy or immunosuppressants, such as transplant patients, are more likely to have severe disseminated disease.
This disease presents most often as meningitis that can progress to meningoencephalitis, with altered mental status in addition to the meningitis.
Neuroimaging may reveal a “soap bubble” appearance of cerebral lesions. These represent gelatinous pseudocysts created by the organism and its extension into the perivascular space.
Cryptococcus neoformans is spread through inhalation and can cause pneumonia in both healthy and immunosuppressed patients.
This disease can be treated prophylactically with long-term administration of fluconazole to immunosuppressed patients or those at high-risk to prevent cryptococcal meningitis.
Flucytosine is an anti-fungal that inhibits DNA synthesis. Combination of amphotericin B and flucytosine is the recommended treatment for disseminated cryptococcal disease.
Disseminated cryptococcal disease is treated with amphotericin B, an anti-fungal that binds ergosterol in the fungal membranes, and has severe systemic side effects like fever, nephrotoxicity, and arrhythmias.
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