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Cryptococcosis

for Veterans and the Public

Cryptococcosis

This fungus is present in soil, usually where there are bird droppings, particularly those of pigeons. It can be passed through the air or wind. It's important to avoid handling birds, including pets, and to avoid areas with lots of bird droppings.

The fungus can infect different organs, such as the lung, heart, and central nervous system. Symptoms vary, depending on where the infection occurs. In the lung, for example, symptoms can include:

  • cough
  • fever
  • malaise
  • shortness of breath

This infection is very serious. It can lead to meningitis (infection around the brain) and pneumonia. Drugs are available to treat this infection but antibiotic treatment is necessary until the immune system has improved on HIV medications.