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Cryptococcosis News

Dangerous Fungus Now Endemic in Pacific Northwest: CDC

Posted 22 Jul 2010 by

THURSDAY, July 22 – Cryptococcus gattii – an airborne fungus that can cause life-threatening illness – is an emerging infection in the Pacific Northwest, U.S. health officials said Thursday. While C. gattii infections are rare – only 60 cases have been reported since 2004 – they can be severe and even fatal, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report in the July 23 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. "C. gattii is still rare so we don't want people to panic or to misunderstand the risk of infection, but it is serious," said co-author Julie Harris, of CDC's National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases. Harris explained that people get the infection by breathing in the spores of the fungus, which live in the environment and are usually found in the bark of certain trees and the surrounding ground. C. gattii infection ... Read more

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'Killer' Fungus Not So Deadly

Posted 1 May 2010 by

FRIDAY, April 30 – The new "killer" fungus spreading through the Pacific Northwest is part reality but also part hype, experts say. "It's definitely real in that we've been seeing this [fungus in North America] since 1999 and it's causing a lot more meningitis than you would expect in the general population, but this is still a rare disease," said Christina Hull, an assistant professor of medical microbiology and immunology and of biomolecular chemistry at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. Cryptococcus gattii, historically a resident of more tropical climates, was first discovered in North America on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, in 1999 and has since made its way to Washington state and now, more recently, to Oregon. "It's a strain that appears to have come from Australia at some point and has adapted to living somewhere cooler than ... Read more

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Potentially Lethal Airborne Fungus May Spread to California

Posted 22 Apr 2010 by

THURSDAY, April 22 – A strain of potentially lethal airborne fungus recently discovered in Oregon may soon spread to California and other neighboring areas, scientists warn. Several people in Oregon have died after being infected with the new VGIIc genotype of Cryptococcus gattii. In the 21 Pacific Northwest cases analyzed by researchers, the strain has a death rate of about 25 percent. "This novel fungus is worrisome because it appears to be a threat to otherwise healthy people. Typically, we see this fungal disease associated with transplant recipients and HIV-infected patients, but that is not what we are seeing," said Edmond Byrnes III, a graduate student in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, in a news release. Because this C. gatti strain is so dangerous, the researchers are calling for increased awareness and ... Read more

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Cryptococcosis - Prophylaxis, Fungal Meningitis

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