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Sporotrichosis

What is it?

Sporotrichosis is a mycosis caused by the fungus Sporothrix schenckii. The disease usually affects the skin, subcutaneous tissue and lymphatic vessels but can also affect internal organs.

The fungus that causes sporotrichosis inhabits nature (soil, straw, plants, wood) and the onset of the disease occurs through injuries from contaminated material, such as splinters or thorns. Infected animals, especially cats, can also transmit the sporotrichosis through bites or scratches.

Although it can be found all over the world, sporotrichosis is more common in warm climate countries.

Characteristics and symptoms

After inoculation into the skin, there is an incubation period which can vary from a few days to 3 months and lesions are most commonly found in the upper limbs and face.

Sporotrichosis presents cutaneous forms, restricted to the skin, subcutaneous tissue and lymphatic system, which are the most frequent forms, and extra-cutaneous, affecting other organs and which are more rare.

Among the cutaneous forms, we find:

  • Cutaneous form: restricted to the skin with mild impairment of lymph nodes. It is characterized by red nodular lesions, which can be verrucous (hardened and with rough surface) or ulcerated, usually covered with crusts. This form can also occur on mucous membranes (mouth, eyes);
  • Cutaneous-lymphatic form: it is the most frequent manifestation of sporotrichosis. The initial lesion is a nodule that may ulcerate. From there, it is formed a hardened cord that goes through the lymphatic vessel toward the lymph nodes and, along it, others nodules are formed, which may also ulcerate. (photo below);
  • Cutaneous disseminated form: ulcerated or verrucous lesions spread through the skin. This form is more common in immunosuppressed patients.

There is also an extra-cutaneous form, of more rare occurrence, in which infection reaches other organs such as lung, testicles, bones, joints and nervous system. In this form, the route of contamination is usually the ingestion or inhalation of the fungus and can also be associated with immunosuppression.

Treatment

Treatment of sporotrichosis can be accomplished with potassium iodide, which is very effective but may be accompanied by side effects, or with oral antimycotic medication. The doses and extent of treatment vary and should be determined by a dermatologist.

Severe forms may need treatment with intravenous antifungal drugs. In the localized form, spontaneous healing may occur.

Related articles

- Skin mycosis
- Onychomycosis


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