Mucormycosis (Zygomycosis)

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP

    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP

    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.

What is the prognosis of mucormycosis?

The prognosis of mucormycosis is usually fair to poor; the prognosis depends on the overall health of the patient, the speed of diagnosis and treatment, the patient's ability to respond to treatments, the complete debridement of the infected body area, and the body area that is initially infected. For example, the mortality (death rate) of patients with rhinocerebral and GI mucormycosis is about 85% while the mortality rate for all patients with other types of mucormycosis is about 50%. Patients who survive this dangerous infection often have disabilities related to the extent of tissue lost due to the fungal destruction and the necessary surgical debridement (blindness, limb loss, organ dysfunctions).

Can mucormycosis be prevented?

Avoiding predicted disasters (hurricanes) and taking safety measures if possible (getting to safe shelters if warning of a tsunami, tornado, or earthquake) are probably the best ways to avoid mucormycosis. Patients with debilitating disease can increase their likelihood of avoiding the infection by good control (treatment) of their health problem with diabetes as the classic example. Some clinicians suggest that if a patient is exposed to circumstances that are favorable for mucormycosis to develop, if they are taking prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone, Prednicen-M, Liquid Pred) or deferoxamine (Desferal), they should cease these medications (consult your doctor or emergency center if possible before modifiying medications). Finally, if a person thinks they may have mucormycosis, they should consult their doctor or an emergency center immediately.

There is no vaccine available for mucormycosis. In some instances, there is no good way prevent mucormycosis (severe accidents, lack of disaster warnings, no shelters available).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/23/2015

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