Caused by a microscopic fungus, Cryptococcus neoformans, cryptococcosis affects immunosuppressed individuals, most of whom are infected by HIV, but who also suffer from other immunological disorders or who are receiving immunosuppressive treatments. Most often, the fungus causes meningoencephalitis, but the infection can also be localised in the lungs. The incidence of cryptococcosis in France has decreased by half with the availability of antiretroviral combination therapies, and now represents around 100 cases annually. However, in Africa and Asia, it remains the second most fatal opportunistic infection after tuberculosis in individuals infected by HIV, in some countries affecting up to 30% of them in the absence of access to antiretroviral drugs. It is now the first cause of meningitis among adults in Africa.
A vast cohort study was performed on patients diagnosed with cryptococcosis between 1997 and 2001 in France by Françoise Dromer, head of the Molecular Mycology unit (CNRS URA 3012) and National Reference Centre for Mycoses and Antifungals at the Institut Pasteur, and Olivier Lortholary, from the same Pasteur unit and the Necker-Pasteur Infectiology Centre, in collaboration with the French Cryptococcosis Study Group, which is composed of mycologists and clinicians in 77 centres throughout the territory.
Aiming to analyse the factors influencing the clinical presentation of the disease