DefinitionMucormycosis is an infection that can affect the sinuses, brain, lungs, and sometimes the skin. It is a serious infection that can be fatal.
CausesMucormycosis is caused by a fungus that is often found in soil, decaying plants or wood, and compost piles. The fungus enters the body through cuts or scrapes in the skin or by being inhaled into the sinuses and airways. Once in the body, the fungus can spread rapidly and quickly become fatal.A healthy immune system can often manage the fungus and eliminate it before problems begin. However, the fungus can grow and cause severe damage if the body does not have a strong immune system.
Risk FactorsA weakened immune system increases your chance of mucormycosis. Conditions or treatments that weaken your immune system include:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis , a complication of diabetes
- HIV infection
- Leukemia or lymphoma
- Being the recipient of an organ transplant
- Long-term steroid use
- Treatment with deferoxamine—an antidote to iron poisoning
- Metabolic acidosis—too much acid in the blood
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SymptomsSymptoms will depend on the location of the infection. Inhaled mucormycosis may lead to:
- Facial pain
- Swollen or protruding eyes
- Redness of the skin over the sinuses
- Cough; occasionally coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting blood
- Pain in the side between the upper abdomen and the back
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