Geographic distribution of patients affected by Cryptococcus neoformans/Cryptococcus gattii species complexes meningitis, pigeon and tree populations in Southern Brazil
Cryptococcal meningitis is mainly caused by members of the C. neoformans/C. gattii species complexes. The ecological niches of Cryptococcus species have extensively been studied, but its epidemiological relationship with meningitis cases is still unknown. In this study, we estimate the relationship between cryptococcal meningitis cases and tree and pigeon populations, the classical niches of members of C. neoformans/C. gattii sensu lato. We analysed the records of every patient whose cerebrospinal fluid culture yielded Cryptococcus spp. during the last 30 years at Clinical Hospital of Curitiba. Data about Curitiba′s pigeon and tree distribution were obtained from Curitiba′s Secretaries of Zoonosis and Environment archives. We used ArcGis9 software to plot the distribution of the pigeon and tree populations in this city as well as cryptococcal meningitis cases, distinguishing them according to the causal agent in C. neoformans or C. gattii s.l. In total, 489 cryptococcal cultures were documented, with 140 corresponding to patients eligible for this study (134 affected by C. neoformans s.l. and 6 by C. gattii s.l.). The map showed a relationship between C. neoformans s.l. patients and pigeon population. C. gattii s.l. patients were associated with neither tree nor pigeon populations, but lived close to large unbuilt, unforested areas.
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