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The fungus causing cryptococcis, C. neoformans, is found worldwide in soil contaminated with pigeon or other bird droppings. It has also been found on unwashed raw fruit. Cryptococcosis is a rare disease in healthy individuals, but is the most common fungal infection affecting people with AIDS.

People with Hodgkin's disease or who are taking large doses of drugs that suppress the functioning of the immune system (corticosteroids, chemotherapy drugs) are also more susceptible to cryptococcal infection. Cryptococcosis is also called cryptococcal meningitis (when the brain is infected), BusseBuschke disease, European blastomycosis, torular meningitis, or torulosis.

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