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Med Mycol. 2002 Jun;40(3):263-72.

Cryptococcus neoformans in the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus): colonization by C n. var. gattii and investigation of environmental sources.

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Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.


This study is the one in a series looking at the relationship among Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii, koalas and the environment. The koala was used as a natural biological sampler in an attempt to understand the dynamics of C. neoformans var. gattii in Australian environments. Evidence of asymptomatic nasal and skin colonization for extended periods by large numbers of C. n. var. gattii was obtained and geographical factors assessed. The key finding was the ability of koalas to amplify numbers of C. n. var. gattii in certain environments. Koalas were not found to be obligatory for the survival of the organism in all environments. Geographical factors alone could not explain differing rates of nasal and skin colonization in koalas in different environments. A strong association between healthy koalas and C. n. var. gattii was confirmed and C n. var. gattii was isolated from novel sources, including the turpentine gum tree (Syncarpia glomulifera), tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys) and flooded gum (E. grandis). It seems likely that as yet undiscovered environmental sources of C. n. var. gattii exist in eastern Australia. Further investigation of host, environmental and organism factors integral to the hostpathogen relationship will assist an understanding of the progression from colonization to tissue invasion and cryptococcosis in all species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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