Definition

What is sporotrichosis?

Sporotrichosis is an infection of the skin caused by a fungus, Sporothrix schenckii. This fungus is related more closely to the mold on stale bread or the yeast used to brew beer than to bacteria that usually cause infections. The mold is found on rose thorns, hay, sphagnum moss, twigs, and soil. The infection is more common among gardeners, nursery workers, and farmers who work with roses, moss, hay, and soil.

Once the mold spores move into the skin, the disease takes days or even months to develop.

How common is sporotrichosis?

Sporotrichosis is rare. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of sporotrichosis?

The first symptom of sporotrichosis is a firm bump (nodule) on the skin that can range in color from pink to nearly purple. The nodule is usually painless or only mildly tender. Over time, the nodule may develop an open sore (ulcer) that may drain clear fluid. Untreated, the nodule and the ulcer become chronic and may remain unchanged for years.

In about 60% of cases, the mold spreads along the lymph nodes. Over time, new nodules and ulcers spread in a line up the infected arm or leg. These can also last for years.

In very rare cases, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, joints, lungs, and brain. This is more common among those with a weakened immune system. It can be difficult to treat and may be life threatening.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes sporotrichosis?

Sporotrichosis usually begins when mold spores are forced under the skin by a rose thorn or sharp stick, although the infection can begin in apparently unbroken skin after contact with hay or moss carrying the mold.

More rarely, cats or armadillos can transmit the disease.

In rare cases, the fungus can be inhaled or ingested, causing infection in parts of the body other than the skin.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for sporotrichosis?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is sporotrichosis diagnosed?

Sporotrichosis is typically diagnosed when your healthcare provider takes a small tissue sample (biopsy) of the infected area of the body. The sample is sent to laboratory for tests (usually a fungal culture) to find out what is causing the infection. Blood tests can help diagnose severe sporotrichosis, but they often can’t diagnose a cutaneous (skin) infection.

How is sporotrichosis treated?

Most cases of sporotrichosis only involve the skin or the tissues underneath the skin. These infections are not life-threatening but must be treated with prescription antifungal medication for several months. The most common treatment for this type of sporotrichosis is itraconazole, taken by mouth for 3 to 6 months. Supersaturated potassium iodide (SSKI) is another treatment option for cutaneous (skin) sporotrichosis. However, SSKI and azole drugs like itraconazole should not be used during pregnancy.

Patients with severe forms of sporotrichosis are usually treated with amphotericin B, which is given through a vein. Itraconazole is often used after the initial treatment with amphotericin B, for a total of at least 1 year of antifungal treatment. People with sporotrichosis in the lungs may also need surgery to cut away the infected tissue.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage sporotrichosis?

No effective home care for sporotrichosis is known. Ulcers should be kept clean and covered until they are healed.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: October 19, 2017 | Last Modified: October 19, 2017

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