Cryptococcus antigen

 

Clinical definition of the Cryptococcus test
Cryptococcus is a pathogenic fungus, often found in soil which has been contaminated by pigeon droppings or eucalyptus trees and decaying wood. The birds are not naturally infected; however they are believed to be the source of infection. Cryptococcus causes cryptococcosis in humans, usually in the form of meningitis or as a disease of the lungs. The fungus cryptococcosis commonly enters and infects the body through the lungs and infection starts following inhalation of the organism. It usually affects individuals with a low immunity.

Why is the Cryptococcus test done?
The cryptococcal test is done to check for infection with the fungus in the blood.

What are the common signs/symptoms when the Cryptococcus test is done?

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision 
  • Bone pain 
  • Tenderness of the breastbone
  • Chest pain
  • Dry cough
  • Unusual sweating 
  • Swollen glands
  • Pinpoint red spots or rash
  • Unintentional weight loss

People with a normal immune system may not show any symptoms at all. However, people who have weak immune systems may have a brain infection. Cryptococcus is one of the most common life-threatening fungal infections in people with AIDS.

Who should do the Cryptococcus test (Target population)?
Persons showing the above signs & symptoms and those at a high risk of contracting the infection due to exposure to the virus.

What should I do before the Cryptococcus test?

Specimen type

Specimen collection procedure

Preparatory instructions before the test *

Serum (Blood Sample)

Venipuncture - Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm.

No Fasting Required.

No other special preparations required.

*Subjects suffering from any illness or on oral or injectable medications are advised to consult their physician prior to requesting any tests or procedures.

How do I interpret my Cryptococcus test results?

Reference Range*

Interpretation

Negative

No infection

‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

Diseases/conditions related to the Cryptococcus test

  • Meningitis

Other tests related to the Cryptococcus test

  • Chest X-ray
  • Lung biopsy
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Sputum culture and stain
  • CSF culture and stain for Cryptococcus

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