What is it?
Cryptococcal meningitis is a serious infection of the brain and spine that can occur in people living with HIV. It is caused by a fungus - Cryptococcus neoformans.
O Cryptococcus neoformans is very common in the environment and can be found in soil and in bird dung. If the soil containing Cryptococcus neoformans is kicked high in the air can be inhaled and El deposited in the lungs. From there, the fungus can travel through the blood to the spine and the brain where it can cause disease.
While most adults and children were exposed to the fungus at some point in their lives, they usually have a healthy immune system enough to prevent the Cryptococcus neoformans of developing the disease. On one occasion, the 5 8 percent of HIV-positive people developed cryptococcal meningitis. Since the introduction of potent anitretrovirais therapies (ARVs), however, this number dropped significantly. People with suppressed immune system, in particular HIV-positive people with CD4 cell count below 50 are more prone to suffer from cryptococcal meningitis.
Cryptococcal meningitis results in inflammation and swelling of the brain. This can be extremely debilitating and / or painful and can cause brain damage. The Cryptococcus neoformans can also cause disease in the lungs and, less commonly, kidney, skin, urinary tract, and lymph nodes.
If not properly treated cryptococcal meningitis can be fatal. So it is very important for HIV-positive people with compromised immune systems monitor your health closely and report any symptoms to their health worker.