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AIDS-related cryptococcal meningitis

Related Terms

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Background

  • Cryptococcus neoformans, a type of microscopic yeast that is found worldwide, can cause pulmonary infections that can potentially spread to other areas of the body. This infection is called cryptococcosis. Individuals who are immunocompromised, especially HIV/AIDS patients, are more susceptible to developing the infection.
  • Most infections develop after the yeast is inhaled into the lungs. Cryptococci have large polysaccharide (sugar) capsules that strongly resist phagocytosis. This means the body's immune system cells have to work hard to engulf the yeast organism.
  • The body's inflammatory reaction to the inhaled yeast causes a primary pulmonary-lymph node complex, which usually prevents the organism from spreading beyond the lungs. Most pulmonary infections are asymptomatic (cause no symptoms), but patients who are severely immunocompromised may develop diffuse interstitial pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs).
  • C. neoformans can spread beyond the lungs, especially if the patient is immunocompromised. Dissemination (spread to other body parts) can occur during the initial stage of the infection or during reactivation of infection years later.
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Causes

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Symptoms

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.