Sporotrichosis is a cutaneous (skin) infection caused by a fungus, Sporothrix schenckii. This infection-causing fungus is related more closely to the mold on stale bread or the yeast used to brew beer than to bacteria that usually cause infections. The fungus is found on rose thorns, hay, sphagnum moss, twigs, and soil. Therefore, the infection is more common among gardeners who work with roses, moss, hay, and soil. Occasionally, other animals such as dogs or horses may become infected.
The disease has often been termed as "rose handler's disease" in older publications because people growing roses had a high incidence of the disease. This was due to the fact that the fungi present on rose thorns and in the moss and soil used to cultivate roses easily contaminated the small pricks and cuts on the skin made by the rose thorns.
Peru, Brazil, U.S., China, and West Australia are the countries where most infections occur. In the U.S., there are about 200-250 documented infections per year.