avian & livestock assay data sheet
detection of Cryptococcus
neoformans by real time polymerase chain reaction
is a fungus that is found worldwide and is the etiologic agent
of cryptococcosis. It is commonly associated with old pigeon
manure, but it has also been recovered from dried excreta of
chickens, sparrows, starlings, and other birds.
C. neoformans uses the creatinine in avian feces as a
nitrogen source. It thereby gains a competitive advantage over
other microorganisms and multiplies exceedingly well in dry bird
manure accumulated in places that are not in direct sunlight.
generally accepted that the organism enters hosts, including
humans, by the respiratory route in the form of a dehydrated
yeast or as spores. Most cryptococcosis infections are mild and
occur without symptoms. Diffuse pulmonary infection is often
asymptomatic and unrecognized. Persons with weakened immune
systems due to AIDS, cancer or transplantation, however, are
more susceptible to symptomatic infection.
generalized form of cryptococcosis begins with a lung infection
and spreads to other areas of the body, particularly the central
nervous system, and is usually fatal if left untreated. The
cutaneous form is characterized by acne-like skin eruptions or
ulcers with nodules just under the skin. The cutaneous form is
generally very rare in normal individuals.
contact with pet birds and their excreta can pose a significant
health risk to immunocompromised patients, it is important that
birds be screened for this fungus before being adopted. Culture
identification is labor intensive and cultures are frequently
contaminated by other fungi. Molecular detection by PCR provides
quick, sensitive and specific detection of
neoformans in a
variety of specimen types such as excreta and cloacal swabs.
Help confirm the disease causing agent
Shorten the time required to confirm a clinical
Help ensure that flocks are free of this fungus
Early prevention of spread of this fungus
Minimize personnel exposure to this fungus
Safety monitoring of biological products and vaccines
that derive from birds
Cloacal swab, or 0.2 ml feces, or 0.2 ml whole blood in EDTA
(purple top) tube, or 0.2 ml CSF, or 0.2 ml
fresh, frozen or fixed tissue.
Contact Zoologix if advice is needed to determine an appropriate specimen type for a specific diagnostic application. For specimen types not listed here, please contact Zoologix to confirm specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.
specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or during
very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship
with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are
specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain
frozen in transit. See shipping
instructions for more information.
2 business days
Qualitative real time PCR