What is Sporotrichosis?
Sporotrichosis is a common skin infection caused by the fungus Sporothrix Schenckii. This type of fungus can be seen on molds that form on stale bread. It can also be found on the thorns of the rose plant, hay, soil, and twigs. Sporotrichosis is more commonly observed in gardeners and nursery workers who work exclusively with rose plantations.
Sporotrichosis is also seen in people who work in farms and have to work around lots of hay, contaminated soil, and moss. Once the spores of the mold sticks to the surface of the skin it may take days or in some cases even a few months for the symptoms of Sporotrichosis to appear.
The disease begins with the offending spores of the mold penetrating the skin surface by the thorn of a plant or a cut. However, the infection may also be caused due to inhalation of the molds or coming in contact with the molds during a normal day’s work at the farm. Normally, only the skin gets affected by Sporotrichosis but in case if the fungus gets inhaled then other areas of the body may get infected as well.
This article gives a brief account of some of the presenting features of Sporotrichosis as it is extremely vital to get a knowhow of this disease so as to get prompt treatment and prevent complications.
What are the Presenting Features of Sporotrichosis?
The primary presenting feature of Sporotrichosis is a reddish firm nodule on the surface of the skin. There is minimal to no pain around the infected area, although there may be palpable tenderness.
As the condition progresses, the nodule takes the shape of a sore which tends to drain. If this is not treated then the open sore gets chronic and is difficult to heal. In about half of the cases of Sporotrichosis, the mold causing the disease tends to spread to the lymph nodes and there may be development of fresh sores around the area of infection.
These sores again may not heal for months to even years. In extremely rare cases, the infection tends to spread to the vital organs of the body like the lungs or the brain. This is an emergent medical condition and if not treated can pose a real threat to the life of the patient.
Can Sporotrichosis Go Away On Its Own?
The answer to this question is a no. Sporotrichosis does not go away on its own. The ulcers caused by it will become chronic if not treated and may remain there for many years and in some cases never heal. It may give rise to various other complications like the infection spreading to other parts of the body like the nervous system or the bones which can be a potentially serious problem.
This may lead to many other symptoms like severe pain in the joints, persistent headaches, loss of mental alertness, and in some cases seizure disorder. This form of infection is termed as disseminated Sporotrichosis. This is especially true if an individual with a compromised immune system gets infected.
Thus it is essential for a condition like Sporotrichosis to be treated promptly to prevent any untoward complications. Antifungal creams and lotions are the most preferred methods of treating Sporotrichosis. These creams and lotions can be applied directly over the blisters for a few months until improvement in the characteristics of the rashes are noted.
In case if a pregnant female gets infected then antifungal medicines needed to be avoided as they harm the fetus. Therefore it is recommended that the female consult the physician for an alternative form of treatment to get rid of Sporotrichosis.
For severe and chronic Sporotrichosis the administration of intravenous medication is recommended. The most preferred medication for this purpose is amphotericin B.
Once IV administration of the medication is completed then the patient may have to be on oral medication in the form of itraconazole for some weeks before the patient can be deemed as Sporotrichosis free.
If the infection spreads to other areas of the body like the nervous system and lungs more aggressive measures need to be taken and even at times surgical procedures are required to treat the patient in which the infected area is excised.
In case of the treatment is delayed for whatever reason and the infection has spread and is suspected to infect organs like the lungs then a pulmonary test along with a comprehensive blood profiling will be done. This will show whether the condition has spread to the lungs or not.
Chronic cases of Sporotrichosis can also be diagnosed with complete blood profile. A detailed treatment plan can be formulated once the results of the above tests are known and a diagnosis of Sporotrichosis is confirmed.