First isolation of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii, serotype C, from the environment in Colombia

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Abstract

The natural habitat of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii, serotype B in the environment was established by Australian investigators who demonstrated its association with species of Eucalyptus. The aim of the present study was to search for the habitat of this variety in a city of Colombia, where clinical cases due to this variety occur with great frequency. For a period of 5 months detritus, vegetable material and air samples in and around 68 almond trees (Terminalia catappa) located in the city were studied. C. neoformans var. gattii serotype C was the only variety isolated from two of the 68 trees sampled. These trees were positive for 4 of the 5 months during which they were studied. From the first positive sample kept under refrigeration, it was possible to isolate the fungus up to 3 months later. This is the first report of the isolation of serotype C from the environment. More studies are required in order to establish the ecological significance of this finding.

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