Ways To Diagnose Cryptococcosis

Ways To Diagnose Cryptococcosis

Ways To Diagnose Cryptococcosis Cryptococcosis is an infection caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. This fungus is found in the soil which contains faeces of birds like pigeon and when inhaled by humans lead to infection.

Cryptococcus requires nitrogen to survive and the faeces of pigeon is found to be rich in nitrogen. This infection does not occur if your immune system is strong but it is very common in patients with AIDS. Cryptococcosis begins from the lungs but there are chances that it may spread in the body.

Sometimes, it becomes life threatening when it infects the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord leading to meningitis. It has also been found that patients with Hodgkin’s disease have more chances of cryptococcosis because they take medicines that reduce the functioning of immune system. Tests should be done to diagnose this infection on time to avoid it from becoming fatal.

Testing Through Lumber Puncture

Methods to identify the fungus can be either directly by laboratory testing or detecting it in the tissue fluids. The best way to diagnose Cryptococcus is to see its presence in the cerebrospinal fluid. CSF is taken out from the body by a procedure called lumbar puncture in which anaesthesia is applied to a small portion of the back and a syringe is used to take out the fluid from the space between the spinal cord and vertebrae.

Once the sample is withdrawn from the body it is taken to the laboratory and a chemical called India ink is added to it. This preparation is left aside for 3-5 days. If the CNS has been infected with the fungus, the preparation will show the presence of the fungus in these days. If the sample will have little fungus it may take some more days to show up in the preparation. The presence of the fungus will be seen in the preparation because the ink will bind to the surface that covers the fungus. This method is most commonly used to diagnose Cryptococcosis as the results are very accurate.

Lab Testing To Diagnose Cryptococcosis

Other method of diagnosis includes direct observation of the sample in the lab. Since, this pathogen is a capsulated fungus, it is this property which can be used for direct observation with various chemicals. The sample can be stained with chemicals like Mayer’s mucicarmine or India’s ink. If the fungus will be present it will form a halo like ring in these stains. This sample is also used in diagnosis of cryptococcosis.

Other Methods To Diagnose Cryptococcosis

Other diagnostic tests for cryptococcosis include lung biopsy, a CT of the chest or brain or an MRI of the brain. An X-ray of the chest may show damage of the lungs or may also show nodules formed in the pulmonary which will confirm the presence of the fungus Crytococcus neoformans.

However, it has been seen that many times these tests fail to show the infection and hence other methods have to be done too. It has been found that MRI or CT of the brain shows more lesions and gives better result of the presence of the infection.

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