Pronounced: MU-kor-mi-ko-sisEn Español (Spanish Version)
Mucormycosis is an infection caused by a fungus that typically affects the sinuses, brain, or lungs. The infection most commonly occurs in people who suffer from a compromised immune system. Mucormycosis is a serious infection, and prognosis is usually poor, even with treatment.
Mucormycosis is caused by a fungus. While the fungus is typically found in soil and decaying plants, most people are not sickened by it. However, people with weakened immune systems—including people with diabetes, AIDS, leukemia , lymphoma, and recent organ transplants—are susceptible to infection from the fungus.
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
The following factors increase your chance of developing mucormycosis:
Having a weakened immune system caused by:
- Recently receiving an organ transplant
- Long-term steroid use
- Treatment with deferoxamine (an antidote to iron poisoning)
- Metabolic acidosis (too much acid in the blood)
- Having a sinus infection
- Having pneumonia
- Having mucormycosis of the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and kidneys
Symptoms of infections of the sinuses and the brain (rhinocerebral mucormycosis):
- Acute sinusitis
- Swollen or protruding eyes
- Dark nasal scabs
- Redness of the skin over the sinuses
Symptoms of infections of the lungs (pulmonary mucormycosis):
- Cough; occasionally coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms of infections of the gastrointestinal tract (gastrointestinal mucormycosis):
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting blood
Symptoms of infections in the kidneys (renal mucormycosis):
- Pain in the side between the upper abdomen and the back
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam.
Tests may include the following:
Early surgical treatment is recommended to improve prognosis. Even with surgery and therapies, prognosis is usually poor. Treatment options include:
- Surgery—Aggressive surgery may be done to remove all of the dead and/or infected tissues.
- Antifungal therapy—Intravenous antifungal medications may be used to kill the fungus throughout the body.
National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
US National Library of Medicine
BC Health Guide
Fungal infections. National Foundation for Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www.nfid.org/publications/fungal_archive/fungal.html. Accessed April 15, 2007.
Mucormycosis. The University of Tennessee Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.utmedicalcenter.org/encyclopedia/?file=000649sym.htm. Accessed April 15, 2007.
Radha S, Tameem T, Fernandez DK, Satyanarayana G. Gastric zygomycosis (mucormycosis). The Internet J Pathol. 2007;5(2). Available at: http://www.ispub.com/ostia/index.php?xmlFilePath=journals/ijpa/vol5n2/zygo.xml. Accessed April 15, 2007.
Last reviewed April 2008 by David Horn, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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