Multi-locus sequence typing reveals genotypic similarity in Nigerian Cryptococcus neoformans AFLP1/VNI of environmental and clinical origin

Ferry Hagen (Corresponding author), Paul Chidebelu, Emeka Nweze, Jacques Meis, Massimo Cogliati

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)



Pigeon droppings are among the major environmental sources of Cryptococcus neoformans AFLP1/VNI, from where the organism infects susceptible humans and animals resulting in cryptococcosis. Until now, C. neoformans AFLP1B/VNII was the only molecular type reported in Nigeria. Effective clinical treatment of this infection has occasionally been stymied by the emergence of antifungal non-susceptible, and resistant strains of C. neoformans AFLP1/VNI.

Hypothesis/Gap Statement

Pigeon droppings harbour C. neoformans and HIV/AIDS patients are among the susceptible population to develop cryptococcal infection. Epidemiological data on cryptococcal prevalence is limited in Nigeria.


To investigate the environmental prevalence of C. neoformans in South-eastern Nigeria and compare the isolates with other lineages by using molecular and microbiological tools.


A total of 500 pigeon droppings and 300 blood samples of HIV/AIDS patients were collected, respectively, from five market squares and three tertiary healthcare centres within the Nsukka area of South-eastern Nigeria. The antifungal susceptibility of the C. neoformans isolates to amphotericin B, fluconazole, 5-fluorocytosine, itraconazole, voriconazole, posaconazole, and isavuconazole was investigated based on the CLSI M27-A3 protocol. Yeasts were identified by MALDI-TOF MS, thereafter Cryptococcus MLST was performed according to the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM) consensus scheme.


C. neoformans was recovered from 6 (1.2 %) pigeon droppings and 6 (2 %) blood cultures of HIV/AIDS patients. Molecular analyses indicated that all cryptococcal isolates belong to serotype A and the AFLP1/VNI molecular type with sequence type (ST)32. Infection with C. neoformans was independent of sex and age of the patients investigated. All C. neoformans isolates were susceptible to the seven antifungal agents.


This is the first report on the prevalence of C. neoformans AFLP1/VNI (ST32) in environmental and clinical samples from Nigeria. The antifungal susceptibility indicates that antifungal resistance by C. neoformans is yet a rare occurrence in Nigeria.
Original languageEnglish
Article number001440
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2021


  • Cryptococcus neoformans
  • Pigeon droppings
  • antifungal susceptibility testing
  • multi-locus sequence typing


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