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BMC Nephrol. 2013 Jan 22;14:20. doi: 10.1186/1471-2369-14-20.

Disseminated cryptococcosis initially presenting as cellulitis in a patient suffering from nephrotic syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Respirology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, No 28, FuXing Road, Beijing, China.



Cryptococcosis is considered as an opportunistic infection because it mainly occurs in immunosuppressed hosts. C. neoformans is usually acquired by the respiratory route and then may disseminate hematogenously to other places, such as meninges, bone and skin. Cutaneous involvement is a rare but important feature of disseminated cryptococcosis with a poor outcome if misdiagnosis. We reported the first case of patients with nephrotic syndrome suffering from disseminated cryptococcosis initially presented as cellulitis.


A 34-year-old man developed severe cellulitis on his both lower extremities without any preceding injury and allergies. The patient had been treated with systemic corticosteroids nearly one year for nephrotic syndrome. According to the outcome of blood culture, the wound area was interpreted as bacterial cellulitis at first. However, the antimicrobial treatment made no response and the skin biopsy revealed the presence of Cryptococcus neoformans, which was subsequently confirmed by microbiological culture. Though the initiation of therapy with fluconazole 400 mg per day was immediately adopted, the patient's conditions suddenly plummeted and he died in the end.


Since the poor outcome of disseminated cryptococcosis if unrecognized and untreated in time, it should be investigated rigorously as a differential diagnosis in patients with nephrotic syndrome suffering from cutaneous diseases.

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