Sporotrichosis is a fungal infection that causes red, tender nodules on the fingers, wrists, and arms. The lymph nodes may also become infected.
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.
Sporotrichosis may begin with a sore or central blister that is red, tender, and appears under the skin of the fingers. A few days to a few weeks after exposure, the disease may progress: The nodule becomes pink and ulcerates. Several days to a few weeks after the initial nodule appears, a chain of dark red nodules develops. Red streaks may move up the arm from the sores located on the wrist or arm.A productive cough may develop if the organism is inhaled or reaches the lungs.Chills, fever, or headache may develop, but these are unusual
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 of sporotrichosis includes: avoiding thorns or stickers while working in the gardenwearing gloves and protective clothing to reduce the risk of becoming infectedwearing a mask to protect the lungs from infection
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.
Sporotrichosis can involve infection of various organs of the body. This condition can become life threatening if it spreads throughout the body.
Sporotrichosis is not contagious. It does not spread from one person to another.
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 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.
With prompt treatment, the sporotrichosis infection is usually completely cleared away. The infection, however, may come back.
Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare professional.
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