Mucormycosis is a fungal infection of the sinuses, brain, or lungs that occurs mostly in people with weakened immune systems.
Mucormycosis is caused by common fungi frequently found in the soil and in decaying vegetation. Most individuals are exposed to these fungi on a daily basis, but people with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infection.
Conditions most commonly associated with mucormycosis include diabetes (usually poorly controlled diabetes), chronic steroid use, metabolic acidosis, organ transplantation, leukemia, lymphoma, treatment with deferoxamine, and AIDS.
Syndromes associated with mucormycosis include:
Symptoms of rhinocerebral mucormycosis include:
Symptoms of lung (pulmonary) mucormycosis include:
Symptoms of gastrointestinal mucormycosis include:
Symptoms of kidney (renal) mucormycosis include:
Symptoms of skin (cutaneous) mucormycosis include a single, painful, hardened area of skin that may have a blackened center.
Mucormycosis should be suspected if symptoms appear in individuals with weakened immune systems, such as organ transplant recipients. Symptoms of rhinocerebral mucormycosis are most likely to occur among immunosuppressed people.
A tissue specimen must be taken and analyzed in order to make a definitive diagnosis of mucormycosis.
Surgery should be done immediately to remove all dead and infected tissue. Surgery can lead to disfiguration because it may involve removal of the palate, parts of the nose, or parts of the eye. Without such aggressive surgery, however, chances of survival are greatly decreased.
You will also receive antifungal medicines through a vein.
Mucormycosis has an extremely high death rate even when agressive surgery is done. Death rates range from 25 - 85% depending on the body area involved and your overall health.
People with weakened immune systems and immune disorders (including diabetes) should seek medical attention if they develop fever, headache, sinus pain, eye swelling, or any of the other symptoms listed above.
Because the fungi that cause mucormycosis are widespread, the most appropriate preventive measures involve improved control of the underlying illnesses associated with mucormycosis.
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