Cryptococcal meningitis (C. neoformans var. gattii) leading to blindness in previously healthy Melanesian adults in Papua New Guinea

Q J Med. 1994 Jun;87(6):343-9.


Cryptococcal meningitis is a common cause of chronic meningitis in Papua New Guinea, affecting apparently immunocompetent people. The majority of infections are believed to be due to Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii. We have reviewed the records of 49 Melanesian adults who presented with proven cryptococcal meningitis to the University teaching hospital in Port Moresby, and compare our findings with other published studies of cryptococcal meningitis in the tropics and sub-tropics. None of the patients had an obvious cause of immunosuppression. Visual disturbances and fundoscopic changes of papilloedema or papillitis were particularly common. The in-hospital case fatality rate for patients treated with amphotericin B and flucytosine was 22.4%. Of the fully treated patients, 31% became completely blind before being discharged from hospital. Therapy directly aimed at reducing intracranial pressure may improve outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amphotericin B / therapeutic use
  • Blindness / microbiology*
  • Child
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / classification*
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Flucytosine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Meningitis, Cryptococcal / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Meningitis, Cryptococcal / complications*
  • Meningitis, Cryptococcal / drug therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Amphotericin B
  • Flucytosine