Home > Diseases and Conditions > Meningitis - cryptococcal
  • We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information

PubMed Health. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M.; 2013.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet].

Meningitis - cryptococcal

Cryptococcal meningitis

Last reviewed: October 7, 2012.

Cryptococcal meningitis is a fungal infection of the tissues covering the brain and spinal cord (meninges).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Cryptococcal meningitis is caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. This fungus is found in soil around the world.

Cryptococcal meningitis most often affects people with a weakened immune system. Risk factors include:

It is rare in people who have a normal immune system and no long-term health problems.

Symptoms

Unlike bacterial meningitis, this form of meningitis comes on more slowly, over a few days to a few weeks. Symptoms may include:

Signs and tests

A doctor or nurse will examine you. This will usually show:

  • Fast heart rate
  • Mental status changes
  • Stiff neck

A lumbar puncture ("spinal tap") is an important test for diagnosis meningitis. This test is done to remove a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

Tests that may be done include:

Treatment

Antifungal medications are used to treat this form of meningitis. Intravenous therapy with amphotericin B is the most common treatment. It is often combined with an oral medication, 5-flucytosine.

An oral medication, fluconazole, in high doses may also be effective against this infection, and may be used later in the course of treatment.

Expectations (prognosis)

People with AIDS who recover from cryptococcal meningitis need long-term treatment with medication to prevent the infection from coming back and to boost their immune system.

Complications

Amphotericin B can have side effects, including chills and stiffness, and sometimes kidney damage.

Calling your health care provider

Call the local emergency number if you develop any of the serious symptoms listed above. Meningitis can quickly become a life-threatening illness.

Call the local emergency number (such as 911) or go to an emergency room if you suspect meningitis in a young child who has the following symptoms:

  • Feeding difficulties
  • High-pitched cry
  • Irritability
  • Persistent, unexplained fever

References

  1. Kauffman CA. Cryptococcosis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 344.
  2. Thigpen MC, Whitney CG, Messonnier NE, et al. Emerging Infections Programs Network. Bacterial meningitis in the United States, 1998-2007. N Engl J Med. 2011 May 26;364(21):2016-25. [PubMed: 21612470]

Review Date: 10/7/2012.

Reviewed by: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc. Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

What works?

  • Treatment of acute cryptococcal meningitis in HIV infected adults, with an emphasis on resource‐limited settingsTreatment of acute cryptococcal meningitis in HIV infected adults, with an emphasis on resource‐limited settings
    Despite the advent and increasingly wide availability of antiretroviral therapy for people with HIV/AIDS, cryptococcal meningitis remains a significant cause of death and illness amongst individuals with HIV infection in resource‐limited settings (poor countries). The ideal way to manage cryptococcal meningitis remains unclear. The main aim of this review was to determine the best treatment for cryptococcal meningitis in resource‐limited settings. In these settings, usually only Amphotericin and fluconazole are available. The authors didn't find any suitable studies that compared these two drugs. Because Flucytosine, which works well with Amphotericin, is often not available in poor countries, policy makers and government officials should consider using this drug for HIV treatment programmes. Future research into the management of cryptococcal meningitis in resource‐limited settings should focus on the most effective use of medications that are available in these settings.
See all (3) ...

Figures

  • Central nervous system and peripheral nervous system.

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...

MedlinePlus.gov links to free, reliable, up-to-date health information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other trusted health organizations.

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...