• Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungus that lives in the environment. Infection from C. Neoformans is called cryptococcosis. This infection attacks the lungs and the central nervous system, specifically the brain and spine.


  • The Cryptococcus fungus lives and can be found worldwide, typically found in soil, on old and decaying wood.


  • People can be infected through inhalation of the fungus. Fortunately, most people who are exposed to the fungus do not get sick.
  • Infection is very rare, especially in those who are very healthy. However, those with weakened immune systems caused by illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS, have an increased risk of getting infected and fighting the infection. This infection is not contagious.


When C. neoformans infects the lungs, the symptoms are similar to pneumonia and include:

  • Coughing 
  • Chest pain 
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing

If the brain is infected, symptoms may include:

  • Headache 
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Neck pain 
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Changes in behavior due to confusion


  • Treatment can last longer than 6 months and is done through antifungal prescription medications all depending on how severe the conditions are.
  • Treatment for children and pregnant varies from other cases as well.


  • Preventing Cryptococcosis can be difficult because it is hard not to breathe in air from the environment.
  • Early detection can also be difficult because symptoms can start weeks after infection. Fortunately, most people never experience symptoms of Cryptococcosis.
  • Although it is rare, pets and other animals can get Cryptococcosis but cannot transmit it to humans.
  • Along with inhalation of the fungus, infection can occur through bird droppings and unwashed fruit.