1921
Volume 58, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645
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Abstract

In Europe before the advent of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), fatal cases of infection with Cryptococcus neoformans resembling acute meningitis were rarely described and never in young adults. However, rapidly fatal cryptococcal meningitis in young Africans has been known to exist in central Africa for at least 30 years, mainly in the lower area of the Congo River basin. Cases have been reported in this area since 1953, particularly in young patients during the 1950s. It is also known that central African AIDS patients frequently suffer from cryptococcosis, and there is a possibility that earlier clinical reports of encephalitis were actually fatal cases of AIDS in young Africans. It appears possible that the central part of the African continent is the area where human immunodeficiency virus originated.

Rapidly fatal cryptococcal meningitis has existed in central Africa for more than 30 years, mainly in the lower area of the Congo River basin. Cases have been reported in that area since 1953, especially among young patients during the 1950s. People with AIDS in central Africa also often have cryptococcosis, and it is possible that earlier clinical reports of encephalitis were actually fatal cases of AIDS in young Africans. Before the advent of AIDS in Europe, fatal cases of infection with Cryptococcus neoformans resembling acute meningitis were rare and nonexistent in young adults. The available evidence suggests that HIV may have originated in central Africa, where it had long remained in a specific, but unknown and overlooked habitat. Cryptococcosis infection, cryptococcosis in the Congo River basin, the historical presence of HIV, and HIV in Haiti and among Haitians are discussed.

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/content/journals/10.4269/ajtmh.1998.58.273
1998-03-01
2017-07-28
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