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Research Article

Emergence and Pathogenicity of Highly Virulent Cryptococcus gattii Genotypes in the Northwest United States

  • Edmond J. Byrnes III equal contributor,

    equal contributor Contributed equally to this work with: Edmond J. Byrnes III, Wenjun Li, Yonathan Lewit

    Affiliation: Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America

    X
  • Wenjun Li equal contributor,

    equal contributor Contributed equally to this work with: Edmond J. Byrnes III, Wenjun Li, Yonathan Lewit

    Affiliation: Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America

    X
  • Yonathan Lewit equal contributor,

    equal contributor Contributed equally to this work with: Edmond J. Byrnes III, Wenjun Li, Yonathan Lewit

    Affiliation: Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America

    X
  • Hansong Ma,

    Affiliation: Department of Molecular Pathobiology, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom

    X
  • Kerstin Voelz,

    Affiliation: Department of Molecular Pathobiology, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom

    X
  • Ping Ren,

    Affiliation: Mycology Laboratory, Wadsworth Center, Albany, New York, United States of America

    X
  • Dee A. Carter,

    Affiliation: Department of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

    X
  • Vishnu Chaturvedi,

    Affiliation: Mycology Laboratory, Wadsworth Center, Albany, New York, United States of America

    X
  • Robert J. Bildfell,

    Affiliation: Department of Biomedical Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, United States of America

    X
  • Robin C. May,

    Affiliation: Department of Molecular Pathobiology, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom

    X
  • Joseph Heitman mail

    heitm001@duke.edu

    Affiliation: Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America

    X
  • Published: April 22, 2010
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000850

Reader Comments (2)

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Authors' characterizations of aspects of C. gattii not studied

Posted by stevekass on 24 Apr 2010 at 00:11 GMT

In their abstract, author summary, and introduction, the authors provide the following descriptions and characterizations of C. gattii: that it was "considered a tropical fungus [and] is now causing disease in humans and animals in the United States," that "a novel genotype, VGIIc, has emerged in Oregon major source of illness in the region," and that there is a "unique and increasingly fatal fungal outbreak in the temperate climate of the North American Pacific Northwest."

Although a full reading of the article indicates that these characterizations are not the authors' research results, the characterizations do not add to readers' understanding of the subject. At worst, they have the potential to mislead casual readers of this public journal.

C. gattii infection very rarely causes illness or death in humans. The authors did not provide or analyze human or animal mortality data from the "outbreak" they describe as "causing disease in humans and animals in the United States," as "a major source of illness in [Oregon]," and as "increasingly fatal." Nor did they provide inline references at the points where they made these characterizations.

The authors found that mice inoculated with isolates of C. gattii obtained from humans and animals infected in the U.S. reached severe morbidity sooner than mice inoculated with isolates of C. gattii obtained from humans and animals infected in Canada.

The findings of differential virulence between geographic strains is interesting and important, but for a disease that rarely causes illness or death in humans or animals, discoveries of isolate virulence do not justify the characterization of this situation as an "increasingly fatal fungal outbreak."

No competing interests declared.