Nocardia infection is a rare disorder affecting the lungs, brain, or skin. It occurs mainly in people with weakened immune systems.
Nocardia infection is a bacterial infection that usually starts in the lungs. It may spread to other organ systems -- most often the brain and the skin. It may also involve the kidneys, joints, heart, eyes, and bones.
Nocardia bacteria are found in soil around the world. You can get the disease by inhaling contaminated dust or if soil containing nocardia bacteria gets into an open wound.
While individuals with normal immune systems can get this infection, the main risk factors for getting nocardiosis are a weakened immune system or chronic lung disease. People on long-term steroid therapy, those with cancer, organ or bone marrow transplants, or HIV/AIDS are at higher risk.
Sorrell TC, Mitchell DH, Iredell JR. Nocardia species. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2005: chap 252.
Southwick FS. Nocardiosis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 351.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885