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Published: February 14, 2019

Cryptococcus

What is Cryptococcus?

Cryptococcus is a fungus which causes cryptococcosis, especially in individuals with suppressed immune systems. It comes in sexual and asexual forms.

The sexual form of Cryptococcus is known as teleomorphs, while the asexual form is called yeast.

Cryptococcus species

There are up to 37 species of Cryptococcus that have been identified by scientists. Here is a list of just but a few:

  • Cryptococcus neoformans – Is a major animal and human pathogen is which causes Cryptococcosis.
  • Cryptococcus albidus – Causes ocular and systemic disease in those whose immune systems are incompetent such as people with lymphoma, HIV/AIDS, and leukemia.
  • Cryptococcus laurentii – Just like Cryptococcus albidus, it also leads to moderate to severe disease in those whose immune systems are incompetent such as HIV/AIDS and cancer patients.
  • Cryptococcus uniguttulatus – No other non-neoforman Cryptococcus species had ever been found to affect human beings before Cryptococcus uniguttulatus, which responds highly to amphotericin B.

The non-infectious Cryptococcus species include Cryptococcus aquaticus, Cryptococcus bhutanensis, Cryptococcus adeliensis, Cryptococcus phenolicus, Cryptococcus consortionis, Cryptococcus vishniacci as well as Cryptococcus ater among others.

Where does Cryptococcus usually appear in home?

  • Cryptococcus neoformans are found in wild birds’ droppings, like those of pigeons. It can also be found in feces of bat guano and on eucalyptus trees at home.
  • Cryptococcus albidus are commonly found in plants and water. You will also find them on animal and human skin.
  • Cryptococcus can be found in dust. For example, dust containing pigeon droppings, as well as in the soil.
  • This kind of mold could also exist on rooftops where pigeons land and leave their droppings. If there is a specific place in your home where pigeons like, be on the lookout for pigeon droppings. It could be your basement, garden, roof, balcony, or anywhere else.
  • Pets and other domestic animals can also have Cryptococcus. If you keep animals, they should constantly be checked by a vet for signs of Cryptococcus. The attack of Cryptococcus on your pets and domestic animals should be a warning for you to act.

Health Effects of Cryptococcus

Cryptococcus is very dangerous and can even be deadly as it causes infections in humans and animals.

In humans, it can lead to:

  • Cryptococcosis
  • Ocular and systemic disease
  • Lung infection
  • Meningitis
  • Skin infection
  • Coma, in the worst case scenario

Symptoms of Cryptococcosis

Cryptococcus causes Cryptococcosis, which is very dangerous and even deadly if left untreated for long.

It has signs that can be confused for pneumonia, like coughs and short breath. This is because it affects the lungs. Sharp chest pain and bloody sputum also result from its effects on the lungs.

Meningitis, seizures, malaise, and mental problems such as lethargy are also symptoms of Cryptococcosis.

Some of the other common signs and symptoms of Cryptococcosis include:

  • A headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vision problems
  • Coma

Diagnosis And treatment of Cryptococcosis

Cryptococcosis is medically diagnosed by taking fluid and tissue samples through the process of culture and examination.

Mostly, the fluids tested for Cryptococcosis are cerebrospinal fluid and blood samples. X-ray tests may also be done to establish the extent of damage done to the lungs if any.

How to identify Cryptococcus in your home?

First and foremost, research widely on Cryptococcus to enable you be enlightened and guide you in identifying the fungus. You could also use the services of expert mold removal companies.

At times, you might also opt for veterinary diagnosis of Cryptococcus in pets and other domestic animals. Always observe pigeon droppings and take them for further analysis if you feel suspicious.

Being on the lookout and monitoring signs and symptoms of Cryptococcus among the inhabitants of your family is encouraged. And especially if you’ve had a case of Cryptococcosis before, you can easily identify the re-occurrence of Cryptococcus if you notice signs and symptoms coming back.

How is Cryptococcosis contracted?

Cryptococcus is an airborne fungus. Inhaling air that contains Cryptococcus introduces the fungi into your system. It first attacks the lungs and then the skin before spreading to other parts of the body. This puts you at risk of contracting Cryptococcosis.

Cases of Cryptococcosis being spread from one person to another have not been established. It is mostly an opportunistic disease since it tends to take advantage of people whose immune systems can’t function properly.

How to prevent Cryptococcal infection?

The only sure way of preventing Cryptococcal infection is by avoiding contact with birds and handling of bird droppings, especially if your immune system is not up to the task.

Apart from bird droppings, avoid contact with soil particularly dust that is likely to contain bird droppings. People on treatment for Cryptococcal infection should adhere to the medication to ensure that the disease does not advance or reoccur.

Interesting facts about Cryptococcus

  • Late diagnosis leads to a 30% mortality rate
  • If Cryptococcosis is diagnosed early, the infection can be successfully stopped through prognosis
  • Reactivation rate of Cryptococcosis is 25% for survivors
  • Antifungal medication is recommended full-time for survivors. It can take years or even be for life
  • Low-income countries face more cases of people succumbing to Cryptococcal infections than high-income countries

How to get rid of Cryptococcus?

To get rid of Cryptococcus, you must get rid of pigeon droppings first. This implies ensuring that pigeons are not anywhere near your immediate environment. Some people love and even keep pigeons, but if Cryptococcus happens to have invaded your home, it is time to think twice about the pigeons.

Use garlic in your day-to-day life, which is the most common household remedy for many fungal infections, including Cryptococcosis. You can mix olive or coconut oil with garlic paste and apply well to the affected areas. If Cryptococcosis has already manifested on the skin, this is one way of managing it.

You can use expert services like those offered by Mold Busters in ensuring your home is clear of Cryptococcus. This is very easy and efficient as compared to doing it yourself since we have the expertise and experience needed to make your home secure.