Isolation and characterization of Cryptococcus neoformans from environmental sources in Ethiopia

  • Yimtubezenash W. Amanuel
  • Leykun Jemaneh
  • Dawit Abate


Background: Cryptococcus neoformans, the most important cause of fungal meningitis in immunocompromised patients worlwide has two varieties which differ in their geographical distribution and natural habitat.
Objective: To isolate and characterize C. neoformans from environmental sources in and around Addis Ababa.
Method: A total of 592 specimens collected from droppings of pigeons and chickens, and from material associated with eucalyptus trees were examined for the presence of C. neoformans. This study was carried out during September 1998 to July 1999.
Results: Out of the 592 specimens eleven C. neoformans were isolated from the pigeon droppings and material associated with eucalyptus trees. No C. neoformans was discovered from chicken droppings. All the isolates were identified as C. neoformans var. neoformans. C. neoformans var. gattii has not been isolated from any of the samples examined.
Conclusion: The fact that cultural detection of C. neoformans var. gattii was impossible in this study does not, however, prove the absence of this variety in these environmental sources in Ethiopia. Future studies that will include a wider geographical area in Ethiopia, and also investigate the possible association of exposure to environmental sources and risk of acquiring disease are recommended.

(Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 2001, 15(1): 45-49)

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eISSN: 1021-6790