Cryptococcosis, a disease of world-wide distribution, is uncommon in the British Isles where it usually presents as meningitis affecting patients with malignant disease of the reticulo-endothelial system, diabetes mellitus or those receiving systemic treatment with corticosteroids. The clinical features and physical signs of the disease are often non-specific and resemble those of tuberculous meningitis. The diagnosis is made upon recognizing the encapsulated Cryptococcus neoformans on Indian Ink preparations of the cerebrospinal fluid, or by demonstrating precipitating antibodies to the organism in the patient's serum. The treatment is by intravenous administration of amphotericin B for a period of 6-12 weeks, supplemented in severe or relapsing cases by intrathecal therapy; alternatively, 5-fluorocytosine may be given by mouth. A case is reported of cryptococcal meningitis occurring in a 46-year-old woman with systemic lupus erythematosus treated with methylprednisolone. Treatment with amphotericin B was successful in suppressing the infection, but was accompanied by side-effects and some temporary impairment of renal function.
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