Cryptococcosis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prognosis
What Is Cryptococcosis?
Cryptococcosis is a fungal infection caused by inhalation of a fungus called Cryptococcus Neoformans. This disease is quite common in individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS. This disease is usually limited to lungs but at times spreads throughout the body. This disease can affect almost every organ of the body but it is especially life threatening and potentially fatal if it affects the nervous system of the body in which case there is an inflammation of membranes which cover the brain and spinal cord due to this fungus.
What Are The Causes Of Cryptococcosis?
As stated, the root cause of Cryptococcosis is the fungus Cryptococcus Neoformans. This fungus is normally found in soil. If it is inhaled, it tends to infect the lungs. This infection either goes away on its own, is confined to the lungs, or in some cases spreads throughout the body. Individuals with compromised immune system are more prone to get this disease, especially individuals with HIV/AIDS, in which case it might me life threatening.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cryptococcosis?
Some Of The Symptoms Of Cryptococcosis Are:
- Bone pain
- Chest pain
- Dry cough
- Severe fatigue
- Skin rashes
- Excessive sweating
- Swollen glands
- Weight loss
How Is Cryptococcosis Diagnosed?
To diagnose Cryptococcosis, the treating physician will conduct a detailed physical examination which may reveal:
- Abnormal breath sounds
- Rapid heart rate
- Alteration in mental status
- Neck stiffness
Apart from the physical examination, the following tests may be conducted:
- Blood cultures
- CT scan of head
- Sputum cultures
- Lung biopsies
- Spinal Tap
- CSF cultures
- Chest x-rays
- Cryptococcal Antigen Tests
What Are Treatments For Cryptococcosis?
Some form of Cryptococcal infections does not necessitate any form of treatment but regular followups should be done to make sure that the disease has not spread to other parts of the body. If there are signs that the infection is spreading then antifungals are prescribed, which may need to be taken for a prolonged period of time. Some of the medications used for treating Cryptococcosis are Amphotericin B and fluconazole
Prognosis Of Cryptococcosis
The prognosis is usually good for people with Cryptococcosis unless the nervous system gets infected in which case the disease is potentially fatal or may leave the individual with permanent damages.