Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii species complexes in Latin America


Carolina Firacative, Wieland Meyer, Elizabeth Castaneda

Cryptococcosis, a potentially fatal mycosis, is caused by members of the species complexes Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii. In Latin America, cryptococcal meningitis is still a significant health hazard with a significant clinical burden. Analysis of publicly available molecular data from 5686 clinical, environmental, and veterinary cryptococcal isolates from member countries of the Latin American Cryptococcal Study Group showed that C. neoformans molecular type VNI (76.01%) is the leading cause of cryptococcal HIV-infected people worldwide Humans, followed by C. gattii of the molecular type VGII (12.37%), with otherwise healthy hosts mainly affected. These two types of molecules also dominate in the environment (68.60% for VNI and 20.70% for VGII). Among the few veterinary cases, VGII is the predominant type of molecule (73.68%). The multilocus sequence typing analysis showed that in Latin America the C. neoformans population is less diverse than the C. gattii population (D of 0.7104 vs. 0.9755). Analysis of the antifungal susceptibility data indicated the presence of non-wild type VNI, VGI, VGII, and VGIII isolates in the region. Overall, the data presented here summarize the advances made in Latin America towards the molecular epidemiology of cryptococcal isolates and contribute to the characterization of the genetic diversity and antifungal susceptibility of these globally widespread pathogenic yeasts.

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