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What is Sporotrichosis?

Sporotrichosis (also known as “rose gardener’s disease”) is an infection caused by a fungus called Sporothrix. This fungus lives throughout the world in soil and on plant matter such as sphagnum moss, rose bushes, and hay. In Brazil, people have gotten sporotrichosis from contact with cats. This form of sporotrichosis (Sporothrix brasiliensis) has not been found in the United States to date. However, the experience in Brazil shows that once established in a population, these infections may spread widely. Given the travel and exposure patterns of humans and cats, US physicians and veterinarians need to be prepared to recognize and treat infections caused by S. brasiliensis.






The symptoms of sporotrichosis depend on where the fungus is growing in the body. Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms that you think are related to sporotrichosis.


Sporotrichosis usually affects the skin or tissues underneath the skin. The first symptom of cutaneous (skin) sporotrichosis is usually a small, painless bump that can develop any time from 1 to 12 weeks after exposure to the fungus. The bump can be red, pink, or purple, and usually appears on the finger, hand, or arm where the fungus has entered through a break in the skin. The bump will eventually grow larger and may look like an open sore or ulcer that is very slow to heal. Additional bumps or sores may appear later near the original one.


Pulmonary (lung) sporotrichosis is rare. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fever.


Symptoms of disseminated sporotrichosis depend on the body part affected. For example, infection of the joints can cause joint pain that may be confused with rheumatoid arthritis. Infections of the central nervous system can involve difficulty thinking, headache, and seizures.




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