Sporotrichosis Symptoms and Signs
- Once the fungal conidia (spores) are moved into the skin via thorns, scrapes,
or other mechanisms, the disease takes days to months to develop.
- The first
symptom is a firm bump (nodule) on the skin that can range in color from pink to
nearly purple. The nodule is usually painless or only mildly tender.
time, the nodule may develop an open sore (ulcer) that may drain clear fluid; in
other instances, mycetomas may be formed. Mycetomas are areas where sinus tracts
are formed from the lymph to the skin surface and discharge granules containing
masses of organisms that cause the infection.
- Untreated, the nodule and the
ulcer become chronic and may remain unchanged for years.
- In about 60% of
cases, the fungus spreads along the lymph nodes. Over time, new nodules and
ulcers spread in a line up the infected arm or leg. These can also last for
- In very rare cases, the infection can spread to other parts of the
- The disease can infect the bones, joints, lungs, and tissues surrounding
the brain (fungal meningitis).
- Such spreading usually occurs only in people
with a weakened immune system.
- The widespread infections can be life
threatening and are difficult to treat.
The symptoms are progressive. Initial
sites of infection are not visibly distinctive. As the infection
progresses, lesions develop, often appearing in a line as
successive areas (lymph nodes) of the lymphatic channels become infected
(compare figures below).
|Picture of sporotrichosis affecting the thumb; SOURCE: CDC/Dr. William Kaplan
|Picture of sporotrichosis lesions on a patient's arm; SOURCE: CDC/Dr. Lucille K. Georg