What Is Cryptococcus, and Should I Worry About It?

October 25, 2021 5:00 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Also known as C. neoformans, Cryptococcus is an invasive fungi species that can cause major health issues if not properly treated. Infections with Cryptococcus usually only occur in those with a weakened immune system.

While most people don’t get sick from Cryptococcus spores, it’s never good to be breathing in fungi spores for an elongated period of time.

Read on if you’re interested in learning more about Cryptococcus. Also consider having an indoor air test performed if you’re worried about the presence of other spores, like mold.

Symptoms of Cryptococcus

After inhalation, the Cryptococcus fungus can infect one’s central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. The lungs are also often a primary site of Cryptococcus infection. Symptoms of an infection can range in severity depending on the person’s health and the body parts affected. For example, those with a Cryptococcus infection in their lungs may experience coughing, shortness of breath, fever and chest pain.

In worse cases, the Cryptococcus infection may travel to one’s brain, sometimes resulting in fevers, headaches, confusion, nausea and much more. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to contact a doctor right away.

Where does Cryptococcus come from?

Cryptococcus infections occur worldwide. Experts believe that these spores spread mainly through bird feces. They also occur in trees and other plants, specifically those found in high logging areas like the Pacific Northwest. Areas like sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia also have a higher concentration of Cryptococcus infections.

It can be hard to avoid inhalation if you live in an area where Cryptococcus is present. That said, some believe masks can help prevent inhalation of fungus spores.

What should I do if I have a Cryptococcus infection?

The best thing to do if you’re showing symptoms of a Cryptococcus infection is to see your doctor right away. Be sure to inform your doctor if you’ve recently visited an area where Cryptococcus infections are high. It’s important to note that pets can get a Cryptococcus infection as well, so be sure to take your pet to the vet if they’re showing symptoms.

The Cryptococcus fungus is somewhat common in certain areas and can be hard to avoid, but most people don’t experience health problems after inhaling the fungus. However, if someone in your family has a compromised immune system, it’s important to be aware that Cryptococcus infection is a possibility. It’s also important to remember that Cryptococcus infection isn’t a contagious disease.

Treatment for a Cryptococcus infection

If a healthcare professional thinks you might have a Cryptococcus infection, they will likely take a sample of tissue or body fluid. They will send this sample to a laboratory to be examined. You may also be subject to an X-ray or CT scan.

If it’s determined you have a Cryptococcus infection, your doctor may recommend you take an antifungal medication for several months. The dosage and length of time you need to take this medication will all depend on the severity of your infection.

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