Cryptococcosis is an infectious disease caused by two species of fungus, the Cryptococcus gattii and the Cryptococcus neoformans. Approximately eighty-five percent of Cryptococcosis cases in the United States are people who have an HIV infection. The early stage of Cryptococcosis typically displays no symptoms. For most individuals, a disseminated infection occurs, particularly meningoencephalitis.
The Cryptococcus fungi are found all over the world and are linked with excrements of birds. The Cryptococcus neoformans are more readily found while the Cryptococcus gattii is limited to sub-tropical locations, particularly in eucalyptus trees.
Generally speaking, the incidence of Cryptococcosis is approximately one in every hundred thousand people. However, the incidence increases in people with AIDS to approximately two to seven cases per one thousand individuals.
Meningitis as a sequela can cause permanent neurological damage for individuals with Cryptococcosis. A little over ten percent of cases results in death. Transmission of Cryptococcosis can occur through inhalation of basidiospores and yeast cells. There is no national surveillance of Cryptococcosis, but some locations survey local populations. Scientists are at work to develop an effective method of prevention. The medication fluconazole can be an effective chemoprophylaxis for AIDS patients, but this method does not prolong survival and is not considered very efficient.