Cryptococcus gattii: an emerging fungal pathogen infecting humans and animals
Edmond J. Byrnes III a,1, Karen H. Bartlett c, John R. Perfect b, Joseph Heitman a,b,*
aDepartment of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
bDepartment of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
cSchool of Environmental Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Infectious fungi are among a broad group of microbial pathogens that has and continues to emerge concomitantly due to the global AIDS pandemic as well as an overall increase of patients with compromised immune systems. In addition, many pathogens have been emerging and reemerging, causing disease in both individuals who have an identifiable immune defect and those who do not. The fungal pathogen Cryptococcus gattii can infect individuals with and without an identifiable immune defect, with a broad geographic range including both endemic areas and emerging outbreak regions. Infections in patients and animals can be severe and often fatal if untreated. We review the molecular epidemiology, population structure, clinical manifestations, and ecological niche of this emerging pathogen.