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Sporotrichosis

Definition

Sporotrichosis is a fungal infection that causes red, tender nodules on the fingers, wrists, and arms. The lymph nodes may also become infected.

What is going on in the body?

A person may get sporotrichosis when exposed to soil, or when a thorn or splinter punctures the skin. The infection is caused by a fungus in the soil. Sometimes, breathing in the fungus can create an infection throughout the body.

Risks

What are the causes and risks of the disease?

Usually, infection from the fungus causing sporotrichosis comes about through a skin puncture with a contaminated thorn or sticker. Gardeners, farmers, and others working in brush, with rose bushes, barberry bushes, or certain types of moss are more at risk for this infection.

Prevention

What can be done to prevent the disease?

Prevention of sporotrichosis includes:
  • avoiding thorns or stickers while working in the garden
  • wearing gloves and protective clothing to reduce the risk of becoming infected
  • wearing a mask to protect the lungs from infection

Diagnosed

How is the disease diagnosed?

The first step in the diagnosis of sporotrichosis is a medical history and physical examination. The healthcare professional may order a culture of pus from the sore to look for the fungus. Biopsy of the lesion is sometimes helpful. Other tests, including bone scan, bone marrow biopsy, blood tests, and x-rays may be used to rule out other conditions.

Long Term Effects

What are the long-term effects of the disease?

Sporotrichosis can involve infection of various organs of the body. This condition can become life threatening if it spreads throughout the body.

Other Risks

What are the risks to others?

Sporotrichosis is not contagious. It does not spread from one person to another.

Treatments

What are the treatments for the disease?

Sporotrichosis is usually treated with antifungal medications taken by mouth, such as a solution of potassium iodide or itraconazole. If the person has severe symptoms, is resistant to oral medications, or has infection elsewhere in the body, the healthcare professional may give amphotericin B intravenously.

Side Effects

What are the side effects of the treatments?

Side effects will depend on the medication used. Saturated solution of potassium iodide has the highest rate of side effects including nausea, vomiting, rash, and fever. Amphotericin B may cause fever, chills, and decreased kidney function. Surgery can be complicated by bleeding, infection, or reactions to anesthesia.

After Treatment

What happens after treatment for the disease?

With prompt treatment, the sporotrichosis infection is usually completely cleared away. The infection, however, may come back.

Monitor

How is the disease monitored?

Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare professional.

Sources

Taber's cylcopedic Medical Dictionary, F.A. Davis, 1993

Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, Fauci, 1998

Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness&Surgery, H. W. Griffith, M.D., 2000

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