Mucormycosis (cont.)

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How is mucormycosis diagnosed?

Presumptive diagnosis is based on the patient's history, physical exam, and the patient's risk factors for getting a fungal infection. A definitive diagnosis is difficult. Although tests such as CT or MRI may help define the extent of infections or tissue destruction, their findings are not specific for mucormycosis. There are no serological or blood tests that are helpful. Growth of the fungi from a biopsy (tissue obtained by surgical removal or endoscopes with biopsy tool) of infected tissue and special tissue stains that may identify fungus from tissue debris can help make the definitive diagnosis (for example, Grocott methenamine-silver stain or periodic acid-Schiff [PAS] staining; some by immunofluorescence techniques). However, sometimes it is still difficult to determine the specific fungal genus and species infecting the patient; in some instances, this is done by cultivation of these organisms and then microscopic identification is made from the unique structural components of the fungi. This helps distinguish mucormycosis from other fungal diseases such as candidiasis and histoplasmosis. Consequently, mucormycosis is often a "working" diagnosis that clinicians use because the supportive care and treatments for the causative fungal agents are essentially the same. Figure 2 shows a periorbital eye infection eventually diagnosed as mucormycosis.

Picture of periorbital fungal infection known as zygomycosis, mucormycosis, or 
Fig. 2: Picture of periorbital fungal infection known as zygomycosis, mucormycosis, or phycomycosis; SOURCE: CDC/Dr. Thomas F. Sellers/Emory University

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Mucormycosis - Risk Factors Question: If known, what were the risk factors for mucormycosis in you or someone you know?
Mucormycosis - Signs and Symptoms Question: Describe the signs and symptoms you experienced with mucormycosis.
Mucormycosis - Treatment Question: Describe the treatment and medications received for mucormycosis.


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