Fungus Cryptococcus gatti Threat to Healthy People

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2010-04-22 20:54

An airborne fungus called Cryptococcus gattii is making its way down from British Columbia to the coastal northwestern United States, and it appears to have a lethal agenda. C. gattii, which usually only infects individuals whose immune systems are compromised, is now attacking healthy people, and it has affected some animals as well.

The report on this potentially deadly strain of fungus appeared in the online journal PLoS Pathogens. Entitled “Emergence and Pathogenicity of Highly Virulent Cryptococcus gattii Genotypes in the Northwest United States,” the authors warn that C. gattii “causes life-threatening disease in otherwise healthy hosts and to a lesser extent in immunocompromised hosts.”

The study notes that the new genetically different strain recently found only in Oregon is highly virulent and that “further expansion into neighboring regions is likely to occur,” including Washington, Idaho, and California. Appearance of C. gatti in North America is worrisome, say the authors, because it is the “first major emergence in a temperate climate,” which indicates its possible expansion.

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This is not the first article that has included alarming information about C. gattii. In August 2009, a report published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, entitled “Spread of Cryptococcus gattii into Pacific Northwest Region of the United States,” was authored by the Cryptococcus gattii Working Group of the Pacific Northwest. Its authors included experts from a wide range of institutions, including Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Duke University Medical Center, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others.

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Comments

I have suffered from Crytococcus neoformans for more than 15 years and have successfully secured remission from the most horrible respiratory disease I could have ever imagined. I have researched this Mycosis and am even more horrified about the emergence of C gatti as it is so contagious that even Polio in its worst days could not have been worse. I was infected as a non compromised healthy individual with C Neoformans and it was bad enough.
hello. i'm hoping you can help me. i was in the tornado that hit joplin mo last may. i have been really sick sence. i have read till my brain feels dead. i think i have theat infection called c. gatti. is that what you have and if so how do you feel and what are some of the things you have been doing for it? thanks so much for your time terri
Article states a mortality rate of 25 percent, yet this fact cgatti fact sheet from the DHS Oregon Department of Human Services ( Acute Communicable Disease Prevention) states a 5% mortality rate, with most cases responding to anti-fungal medications. That's a 20 percent discrepancy, so which is it? 25% or 5% mortality? Link: http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/acd/diseases/cryptococcus/cgattii_factsheet.pdf
The 25% figure came from the new PLoS Pathogens study.

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