High revalence of Cryptococcal Antigenaemia Amongst Asymptomatic Advanced HIV Patients in Pune, India

Citation: Kadam D, Chandanwale A, Bharadwaj R, Nevrekar N, Joshi S, Patil S, Gupte N, Sangle S, Chopade K, Kulkarni V, Balasubramanian U, Suryavanshi N, Jain D, Kanade S, Dharmashale S, Kagal A, Gupta A, Mave V. High revalence of Cryptococcal Antigenaemia Amongst Asymptomatic Advanced HIV Patients in Pune, India. Indian J Med Microbiol. 2017 Jan-Mar;35(1):105-108. doi: 10.4103/ijmm.IJMM_15_596. PMID: 28303828.

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BACKGROUND:

The World Health Organization recommends routine cryptococcal antigen (CrAg) screening in advanced AIDS patients initiating antiretroviral treatment (ART). India has yet to adopt this strategy as the burden of cryptococcal antigenaemia is unknown.

METHODS:

A prospective study was conducted in a large public sector ART centre and the inpatient wards of Sassoon Hospital, Pune, India. All consenting patients> 18 years of age with CD4 count <100 cells/mm3 were screened for CrAg by latex agglutination assay. Those with positive CrAg underwent cerebrospinal fluid analysis, chest radiograph and abdominal ultrasound to rule out cryptococcal disease. The impact of CrAg positivity on all-cause mortality was assessed by logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS:

Amongst 208 AIDS patients with CD4 cells <100 cells/mm3 who underwent CrAg testing, median age was 40 (interquartile range [IQR], 35-49) years, 134 (64%) were male and median CD4 count was 64.5 cells/mm3 (IQR, 37-82). Overall, 16 (8%, 95% confidence interval [CI], 4-12) patients were positive for CrAg, of which 8 (50%) had CD4 cells <50 cells/mm3 and 3 (19%) CrAg-positive patients had incidental cryptococcal meningitis. At 6-month follow-up, the case fatality rate was higher amongst CrAg-positive patients (38%) compared with CrAg-negative patients (18%) (P = 0.06). After adjusting for age, sex, CD4 count and ART, there was a trend towards increased all-cause mortality (adjusted OR, 3.18, 95% CI, 0.60-16.88,P= 0.17).

CONCLUSIONS:

We found an 8% prevalence of cryptococcaemia amongst adult AIDS patients with CD4 cells <100 cells/mm3. Given the high fatality rates observed, routine screening for CrAg should be considered for all Indian persons with advanced HIV disease.

Indian J Med Microbiol. 2017 Jan-Mar;35(1):105-108. doi: 10.4103/ijmm.IJMM_15_596. PMID: 28303828.

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