Doctor's Notes on Mucormycosis
Mucormycosis is a rare fungal infection of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, respiratory tract, or skin caused by a group of molds termed Mucoromycotina found in soil or decaying organic material. Signs and symptoms vary with the body parts infected:
- Rhinocerebral (sinuses, brain, and eyes): fever, vision problems like swollen eyes that may protrude, facial swelling, dark scabbing of nasal passages, redness of skin above the sinuses, headache, sinus pain and congestion, mental status changes
- Pulmonary: cough, pneumonia, short of breath, fever, and chest pain
- Skin: pain, redness, swelling and/or warmth around an infected wound, black skin, blisters, and/or ulcers
- Gastrointestinal: abdominal pain, nausea and/or vomiting, ulcers, GI bleeding, peritonitis, and bowel infarction
The cause of mucormycosis is a group of molds termed Mucoromycotina. Mucor and Rhizopus are the mold genera most commonly found in the group. In general, people inhale or ingest the molds, or the molds enter the skin through breaks like abrasions or wounds. Most patients who develop the disease are immunocompromised in some way. Treatment is usually IV amphotericin B, but doctors may prescribe other drugs. There is no vaccine available and surgery may be necessary to remove infected tissue.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.