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Symptoms and Signs of Sporotrichosis

Doctor's Notes on Sporotrichosis

Sporotrichosis is a skin infection caused by the fungus Sporothrix schenckii; it has been termed “Rose handler’s disease”. Infection is often found in individuals (gardeners) that 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 firm nodule on the skin that range 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 is not spread person-to-person. Rarely, it can be transmitted to humans with scratches from animals’ claws or may be inhaled and/or ingested. The signs and symptoms can be more aggressive in immunosuppressed individuals.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


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