Definition of Meningitis, cryptococcal

Meningitis, cryptococcal: Inflammation of the meninges due to infection with the fungal organism Cryptococcus neoformans, which is found mainly in dirt and bird droppings. Most people have been exposed to this organism at some time, but normally it causes no problems. Often associated with AIDS, cryptococcal meningitis is considered an opportunistic infection: a disease that emerges most often when the immune system is compromised in some way. Diagnosis is made via observation of symptoms, lumbar puncture, and cryptococcal titre. Treatment takes place in the hospital and usually consists of intravenous doses of the antibiotic amphotericin B. After the infection is under control, patients usually remain on a maintenance dose of fluconazole (brand name: Diflucan) to prevent reinfection.


Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012

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