Cryptococcus neoformans (teleomorph: Filobasidiella spp.) is typically recovered from environmental samples as a nondescript yeast. This yeast is endemic throughout the world with different strains predominating in different locales. This yeast thrives in high nitrogen content material and is often associated with bird droppings. Outbreaks are typically associated with some kind of roosting site disturbance.
Cryptococcosis (an infection with Cryptococcus neoformans) is a trademark secondary infection in AIDS patients and most other cases are in patients with some other predisposing condition (such as lupus erythematosus, lymphoma, or leukemia). The infection is started by the inhalation of airborne fungal material and with ensuing infection in the lungs. The disease usually spreads to the brain and meninges, often proving to be fatal.
The main problem with the detection of Cryptococcus neoformans is that it is a nondescript yeast upon primary isolation. While most common indoor fungi can be differentiated to a degree by physical characteristics, yeasts are typically lumped into a single group. The differentiation of C. neoformans from other yeasts is based on biochemistry rather than direct observation and as such requires viable cultures of the organism. The analysis for C. neoformans can be performed in the typical 6-10 day turn around for viable cultures, but the test requires special media that do not allow other fungi to be reliably recovered or identified. Acceptable matrices include both swabs and bulk material are acceptable, as well as Andersen-style plates. For Andersen sampling the IAQ investigator should use Birdseed Agar (BBL) for the isolation medium, as it provides the quickest and most selective recovery of possible C. neoformans.
Culture Based Analysis:
EMSL Code: M028
TATs available: 2 weeks
Sample Types Accepted: Air (agar plates), swabs, and bulks.
Sample Types Not Accepted: Spore Traps, Tape Lifts, Soils
For Air Sample Collection: This method commonly uses an Andersen N-6 type impactor (e.g. EMSL VP-400 Microbial Sampler Product ID 8709001) with caffeic acid agar (CAA). 3-5 minute sampling at 28.3 lpm.
For Swab Sample Collection: Butterfield’s solution swab or similar
Sample Shipment: Complete an EMSL Chain of Custody (COC), available on our website (www.emsl.com), detailing client name and information, project name or number, sample #, and a description of the area. Place samples in a cooler with reusable freezer packs. Overnight shipping recommended.
PCR Based Analysis:
EMSL Code: M143
TATs available: 3 hr, 6 hr, 1 day, 2 day, 3 day
Sample Types Accepted: Air (PCR cassette) and swabs
Sample Types Not Accepted: Spore Traps, Tape Lifts, Bulks, or Soils
For Air Sample Collection: 3-piece EMSL PCR cassette (Product ID 8715309) with vacuum pump. Sample as much air as desired through the upper opening. There is no upper limit to sampling time. Record the VOLUME of air sampled and ship the cassette to EMSL.
For Swab Sample Collection: Butterfield’s solution swab
Sample Shipment: Complete an EMSL Chain of Custody (COC), available on our website (www.emsl.com), detailing client name and information, project name or number, sample #, and a description of the area. No refrigeration is needed. Overnight shipping recommended.