Prevalence of cryptococcosis among HIV-infected patients in Yaounde, Cameroon
Background: Cryptococcus neoformans is encapsulated yeast which causes life-threatening infections in up to 40% of AIDS patients in Africa.
Objective: To investigate the prevalence of cryptococcosis among HIV infected patients in Yaounde.
Methods: In a hospital-based surveillance study of cryptococcosis, the colonization of Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF), urine and blood sample by C. neoformans was evaluated by direct microscopic examination and culture techniques. Data obtained were then analyzed based on the medical records of the patients.
Results: Among the 105 patients sampled for the study, the CD4 counts varied between 31 and 304 lymphocytes/mm3. Direct specimens examination (n= 294) in India ink preparations revealed polysaccharide capsule in 25 (8.5%) of the samples. Upon culture, 29 (9.86 %) samples were positive of C. neoformans (23 from the CSFs and 6 from the urine). All the positive samples were obtained from patients who were not on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). Meningo-encephalitis symptoms were observed in 13 patients with C. neoformans in CSFs.
Conclusion: This study reveals that cryptococcosis is rife in AIDS patients in Yaounde. Therefore, to minimize the death toll, we recommend that its routine check should be integrated in the management of HIV/AIDS patients.
Key words: Cryptococcosis, HIV/AIDS patients, prevalence, Yaounde.