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Sporotrichosis - Symptoms & Treatment


Sporotrichosis is a long-term ( chronic ) skin infection. Sporotrichosis is caused by a microscopic fungus called Sporothrix schenckii. The fungus enters the skin through small cuts or punctures from thorns, barbs, pine needles, or wires. Osteoarticular sporotrichosis occurs from direct inoculation or hematogenous seeding. Rarely, a disseminated infection occurs with disseminated cutaneous lesions and involvement of multiple visceral organs; this occurs most commonly in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Anyone can get the disease but people handling thorny plants, sphagnum moss or baled hay contaminated with this particular fungus are at increased risk. Therefore, the infection is more common among gardeners who work with roses, moss, hay, and soil. The fungus is found in the soil and in sphagnum moss, hay, and other plant materials. Sporotrichosis progresses slowly - the first symptoms may appear 1 to 12 weeks (average 3 weeks) after the initial exposure to the fungus. Sporotrichosis mainly affects the skin and nearby lymphatic vessels.

Sporotrichosis is acquired through direct inoculation into the skin and rarely via inhalation of conidia. Sporotrichosis can be confirmed when a doctor obtains a swab of a freshly opened skin nodule and submits it to a laboratory for fungal culture. Sporotrichosis is sometimes called spagnum moss disease or alcoholic rose gardener's disease. The fungus spreads from the initial lesion along lymphatic channels, forming the chain of indolent nodular and ulcerating lesions that typifies the lymphocutaneous form of the disease. Lesions are often on the hands and forearm, as these areas are a common site of injury. Sporotrichosis can be an occupational disease (for farmers, horticulturists, rose gardeners, plant nursery workers). Sporotrichosis mainly affects the skin and nearby lymphatic vessels. Very rarely, the bones, joints, lungs, or other tissues are infected. Infection usually is recognized in adults in the developed world. Infection may be more common in children and adolescents in tropical regions and in areas of hyperendemicity. Systemic sporotrichosis can cause lung and breathing problems, osteomyelitis, arthritis, and meningitis. Sporotrichosis is usually treatable with fungus-killing medicine.

Causes of Sporotrichosis

The common causes and risk factor's of Sporotrichosis include the following:

  • Sporothrix schenckii, a fungus.
  • Sporotrichosis usually begins when mold spores are forced under the skin by a rose thorn or sharp stick.
  • Infected animals.
  • Farmers, nursery workers, landscapers, and gardeners are at higher risk for the disease.
  • A weakened immune system.

Symptoms of Sporotrichosis

Some sign and symptoms related to Sporotrichosis are as follows:

  • A small painless bump that looks like an insect bite.
  • Holes and nodules in the lungs.
  • The bump can range in color from pink or red to purple.
  • Open sores (ulcerations).
  • A progressive line of ulcers leading away from the initial ulcer.
  • Weight loss.
  • Patients typically present with a subacute or chronic inflammatory arthritis involving one or more joints.
  • Loss of appetite or anorexia.

Treatment of Sporotrichosis

Here is list of the methods for treating Sporotrichosis:

  • Antifungal therapy is the mainstay of treatment for all forms of sporotrichosis.
  • The skin infection is usually treated with potassium iodide given by mouth 3 times per day or itraconazole by mouth.
  • A new drug, itraconazole (Sporanox), is now the first choice for treatment because it causes fewer side effects than potassium iodide.
  • In serious cases of sporotrichosis, when the internal organs are infected, the preferred treatment is the drug amphotericin B. Amphotericin B is a strong anti-fungal drug with potentially severe toxic side effects.
  • Surgical therapy is important in the management of osteoarticular sporotrichosis.

 

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