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Lancet. 1990 Oct 13;336(8720):923-5.

Ecology, life cycle, and infectious propagule of Cryptococcus neoformans.

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Department of Microbiology, Adelaide Children's Hospital, Australia.


Cryptococcus neoformans is a biotrophic smut-like fungus, and the epidemiology of cryptococcosis can mainly be explained by exposure to an infective aerosolised inoculum. For C neoformans var gattii it is postulated that the principal infectious propagule is the basidiospore and that exposure to Eucalyptus camaldulensis, the host tree, is required to initiate infection in man and animals. C neoformans var gattii may have been exported from Australia by infected seeds of E camaldulensis containing dormant dikaryotic mycelium of the fungus. For C neoformans var neoformans both the basidiospore and desiccated encapsulated yeast cells are postulated to act as infectious propagules, the basidiospores showing a seasonal distribution in association with an as yet unidentified host plant, and the encapsulated yeast cells dispersed from accumulations of dried bird (mainly pigeon) droppings which act as a year-round vector.

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