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Definition of C. gattii Infection

C. gattii cryptococcosis is a rare infection caused by Cryptococcus gattii, a fungus that lives in soil and in association with certain trees.1,2 C. gattii primarily lives in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, particularly Australia and Papua New Guinea, but it has also been found in parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, Mexico, and South America.1,2 Since 1999, C. gattii has been recognized as causing infections in humans and animals on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and C. gattii infections were first recognized the United States Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington) in 2004.36 A small number of people have also gotten C. gattii infections in other areas of the US, particularly in the Southeast, without a history of travel to Oregon or Washington.7

People can become infected with C. gattii after breathing in the microscopic fungus from the environment. Infection with the fungus Cryptococcus (either C. gattii or C. neoformans) is called cryptococcosis. Cryptococcosis usually affects the lungs or the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), but it can also affect other parts of the body. Brain infections with the fungus Cryptococcus are called cryptococcal meningitis.


  1. Springer DJ, Chaturvedi V. Projecting global occurrence of Cryptococcus gattii. Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 Jan;16(1):14-20.
  2. Harris J, Lockhart S, Chiller T. Cryptococcus gattii: where do we go from here? Med Mycol. 2011 Sep 22.
  3. Stephen C, Lester S, Black W, Fyfe M, Raverty S. Multispecies outbreak of cryptococcosis on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Can Vet J. 2002 Oct;43(10):792-4.
  4. Hoang LM, Maguire JA, Doyle P, Fyfe M, Roscoe DL. Cryptococcus neoformans infections at Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre (1997-2002): epidemiology, microbiology and histopathology. J Med Microbiol. 2004 Sep;53(Pt 9):935-40.
  5. Datta K, Bartlett KH, Baer R, Byrnes E, Galanis E, Heitman J, et al. Spread of Cryptococcus gattii into Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Emerg Infect Dis. 2009 Aug;15(8):1185-91.
  6. CDC. Emergence of Cryptococcus gattii – Pacific Northwest, 2004-2010. MMWR. 2010 Jul 23;59(28):865-8.
  7. Harris JR, Lockhart SR, Sondermeyer G, Vugia DJ, Crist MB, D’Angelo MT, et al. Cryptococcus gattii Infections in Multiple States Outside the US Pacific Northwest. Emerg Infect Dis. 2013 Oct;19(10):1621-7.