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December 1976

Cutaneous Manifestations of Disseminated Cryptococcosis

Arch Dermatol. 1976;112(12):1734-1740. doi:10.1001/archderm.1976.01630370022005

• Five patients with disseminated cryptococcosis had lesions on the extremities resembling cellulitis, which evolved into areas of blistering and ulceration in three patients. All had underlying disease and were medically immunosuppressed. Disseminated cryptococcosis appears to present with cellulitis or herpes-like vesiculation more commonly than is currently appreciated.

India ink preparations of aspirates from areas of cellulitis or Tzanck preparations from blisters may show characteristic organisms, and makes possible an immediate diagnosis of cutaneous cryptococcosis. If cutaneous infection is confirmed by performing biopsies and growing cultures, dissemination must be presumed and the patient treated with a full course of systemic antifungal therapy. With increasing awareness of cutaneous involvement, some cases of disseminated cryptococcosis will be diagnosed sooner, leading to earlier therapy and improved prognosis.

(Arch Dermatol 112:1734-1740, 1976)