What is Cryptococcus gattii?
C. gattii is a fungus that can infect the lungs and nervous systems of humans and animals. Until 1999, it was only found in tropical and subtropical regions. Since that time, the fungus has spread. It is now considered endemic along the Pacific Coast. Over 170 cases have been confirmed in British Columbia, Canada. Washington State has had 52 confirmed cases.
The incubation period is long and variable. It can range from two to fourteen months. Symptoms also cover a wide spectrum and are generally nonspecific. Up to 20% of cases result in fungal meningitis.
Inhaling C. gattii spores can cause infection, but it is not spread from person to person.
Providers must report confirmed cases of C. gattii.
Patients with atypical pneumonia or fungal meningitis should be tested for C. gattii. It takes special diagnostic tools to tell C. gattii from other Cryptococcus strains.
To report, visit our Report Notifiable Conditions page, or call (253) 798-6534.