Sporotrichosis is a rare infection affecting farmers and gardeners. Basically it is a fungal infection caused by Sporothrix schenckii that enters the body through minor cuts on the skin while handling vegetation. Sporotrichosis is also known as rose gardener’s disease. Gardeners and farmers are at risk of developing sporotrichosis. It causes bumps on the fingers and hand which grows into ulcer like nodules. Taking antifungal medications can relieve the symptoms.
Sporotrichosis Symptoms :
- Sportrichosis can cause small lesions on the finger and arm which is prone to fungal infection. Initial signs begin after two weeks of exposure and gradually the bump begin to grow in size.
- In addition it can cause other signs like fever, chills, breathing difficulty and cough.
- In rare cases fungus can enter the lungs while inhaling the fungal spores, causing pulmonary infection. In some cases fungal infection can spread from cats/animals to humans. In majority of the reported cases, infection occurs through cuts, scrapes and skin trauma. The fungus enters into the skin through small cuts and scratches when handling rose gardens
- Since the fungal infection spreads after handling rosebushes and decayed crops and twigs, it is known as rose-gardener’s disease. Often the infection spreads when the thorns of roses prick the fingers and hands of gardeners.
Who Are At Risk ?
Gardeners, farmers and landscapers are at risk of sporotrichosis. Workers who are involved in nursery development are also prone to this disease. People whose activities involve handling of rose bushes and other decayed vegetation have chance of sporotrichosis.
Sporotrichosis Causes :
Soil always contains elements of bacteria and other micro-organisms in it. It can be found in nutrient soil, mosses and hay. Farmers are exposed to these organisms while handling soil and other nutrients with bare hands. When there are any cuts or punctures/wounds in their hands the fungus can easily penetrate the skin causing an infection.
In rare cases the infection spreads from other infected person when they sneeze or coughs emitting hundreds of germs in the air which are inhaled by others. Pets can also be a source of transmitting infection to humans. An infected cat or dog while biting or scratching the skin can infect the fungus to individual.
A mere physical examination of the ulcerous lesions on the hands can help in detecting sporotrichosis. Your doctor may ask questions about the nature of job and handling of plants and soil etc. If required he may send a swab to the laboratory to confirm the diagnosis.
Clinical Features :
Often sporotrichosis affects only the skin causing lesions or bumps on the hands and fingers. Nodules would appear on the site of scratch. In severe cases the organisms can get deeper into the skin affecting the lymphatic nodes. The affected person may develop symptoms of fever, cold and headache when the infection spreads.
In rare cases if the fungus is inhaled in the form of spores it can affect your lungs causing lung infection wherein symptoms resemble pneumonia. Patients with history of arthritis may develop skin lesions initially but it can cause severe inflammation of the joints and bones.
Lymphocutaneous Sporotrichosis :
In majority of reported cases, lymphocutaneous sporotrichosis occur when the spores of fungus gets implanted into the skin through cuts, scratches or wounds. It may take 20-90 days for the first lesion to appear on the site of infection. The color of the lesion may range from brown, red to pink and is often painless. Gradually, the nodule grows bigger in size and form an ulcer with bright red color. In some cases it may drain fluid from the nodule. It is necessary to treat the disease at this stage promptly failing which the infection can spread into the body causing chronic problems.
Images, Pics, Photos and Pictures of Sporotrichosis :
Sporotrichosis Treatment :
Sporotrichosis often causes only lesions or bumps on the skin. They affect only the subcutaneous tissue and do not enter further. If the doctor confirms the diagnosis he would recommend antifungal drugs in suitable strength. You need to continue the medication and complete the full course. Itraconazole is prescribed for several weeks or months, depending on the intensity of infection. You may be asked to continue the drugs for 3-6 months to prevent recurrence. The same drug is also recommended for getting relief from joint infection due to sporotrichosis. In rare cases if the infection has spread in the body and other parts, amphotericin B is prescribed in lipid formulation. Some doctors also suggest SSKI (Supersaturated Potassium Iodide) for cutaneous disease.
Tips For Prevention :
You can reduce the risk of getting an infection by using protective gloves and clothing when handling soil and working in the garden. It is wise to wear long gloves if the daily activities involve handling of rose bushes, wires, and hay and pine seedlings. You should be more cautious if you already have cuts or scratches in your hands since it increases the chance of getting infected.