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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1990 May;114(5):519-22.

Respiratory cryptosporidiosis in a patient with malignant lymphoma. Report of a case and review of the literature.

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Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Respiratory cryptosporidiosis is a rare complication of intestinal infection by cryptosporidia, with only six cases reported (to our knowledge) since its first description in 1983. We report the first case of respiratory cryptosporidiosis recognized at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. An antemortem diagnosis was made based on recognition of acid-fast cryptosporidia in an induced sputum specimen obtained from a 64-year-old woman with malignant lymphoma and an associated profound immunodeficiency. Autopsy confirmed the presence of cryptosporidia along the apical aspect of the respiratory epithelium lining the trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles. Cryptosporidia were also identified in the duodenum and gallbladder. Immunohistochemical staining of the paraffin-embedded autopsy lung sections using a monoclonal antibody verified the diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis. Review of our case and the literature suggests that respiratory cryptosporidiosis is characterized by a chronic tracheitis, bronchitis, and bronchiolitis but generally does not cause severe pulmonary dysfunction.

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