Symptoms and Signs of Sporotrichosis

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 9/8/2021

Doctor's Notes on Sporotrichosis

Sporotrichosis is a skin infection caused by a fungus. It has been termed "rose handler's disease." Infection is often found in individuals (gardeners) who raise roses and/or work with moss and soil. The fungus is frequently located on the thorns of roses. Signs and symptoms of sporotrichosis may not appear for days to months. Signs and symptoms begin as a firm nodule on the skin that ranges in color from pink to purple. These nodules can be painless or slightly tender. The nodules, over time, may develop into an open sore or ulcer and drain clear fluid. Often, the organisms develop along a straight line on an extremity that indicates lymph node infection. These infections may develop sinus tracks from the lymph node to the skin. These open sinus tracks are termed mycetomas. They may discharge granular material composed of mainly fungi. Rarely, the infection may reach one or more of the internal organs.

The cause of sporotrichosis is infection by the fungus Sporothrix schenckii. The disease does not spread from person to person. Rarely, it can be transmitted to humans with scratches from an animal's claws or ot may be inhaled and/or ingested. The signs and symptoms can be more aggressive in immunosuppressed individuals.

What Is the Treatment for Sporotrichosis?

Treatment of this fungal disease is currently itraconazole. It is used for a relatively lengthy time span, about 3-6 months. For patients with severe infections, other drugs like supersaturated potassium iodide and amphotericin B are used. Sporothrix is a slow-growing fungal organism. This slow growth is why the length of treatment is so long.

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