Symptoms and Signs of Mucormycosis

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 5/4/2022

Doctor's Notes on Mucormycosis

Mucormycosis (also termed zygomycosis) 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

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.

What Are the Treatments for Mucormycosis?

Although rare, this serous infection needs antifungal medication as soon as possible. Duration of treatments range from about 33-102 days. The specific medicines given are as follows:

  • Amphotericin B given by IV
  • Posaconazole given by IV or oral
  • Isavuconazole given by IV or oral

In some individuals, surgery is needed to remove infected tissue and/or adhesions. Researchers are trying to make other effective drugs to treat this disease.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.