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Volume 14, Number 5—May 2008


Cryptococcus neoformans

[krip′′ to-kok′əs ne′′o for-mənz], from the Greek—krypto (hidden), kokkos (berry), neos (new); and Latin—forma (form)

C. neoformans is an encapsulated yeastlike fungus of the family Cryptococcaceae. It was first described in 1894 by German pathologist Otto Busse, who observed the cells in a tumor from the tibia of a woman with sarcoma. Found worldwide in nests and droppings of pigeons, it is the most common species that causes cryptococcosis in humans. The effects range from asymptomatic infection to meningitis, pneumonia, or disseminated disease. The crucial factor is the immune status of the host. With the global emergence of AIDS, the incidence of cryptococcosis is increasing and now represents a major life-threatening infection in these patients.

DOI: 10.3201/eid1405.E11405

Sources: Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 31st edition. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier; 2007;

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Table of Contents – Volume 14, Number 5—May 2008