Sporotrichosis

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Who Gets Sporotrichosis?

People who handle thorny plants, sphagnum moss, or bales of hay are at increased risk of getting sporotrichosis. The infection is more common among people with weakened immune systems, but it can also occur in otherwise healthy people. Outbreaks have occurred among florists, plant nursery workers who have handled sphagnum moss, rose gardeners, children who have played on bales of hay, and greenhouse workers who have handled thorns contaminated by the fungus.

How Can I Prevent Sporotrichosis?

There is no vaccine to prevent sporotrichosis. You can reduce your risk of sporotrichosis by wearing protective clothing such as gloves and long sleeves when handling wires, rose bushes, bales of hay, pine seedlings, or other materials that may cause minor cuts or punctures in the skin. It is also advisable to avoid skin contact with sphagnum moss.

Sources

The fungus lives in sphagnum moss, hay, other plant materials, and soil. The fungus can enter the skin through small cuts or punctures from thorns, barbs, pine needles, or wires. In rare cases, inhalation of the fungus can cause pulmonary infection. Sporotrichosis is not spread from person to person; however, a small number of human cases have been caused by scratches or bites from infected animals such as cats.

Diagnosis and Testing

Sporotrichosis is typically diagnosed when your doctor obtains a swab or a biopsy of the infected site and sends the sample to a laboratory for a fungal culture. Serological tests are not always useful in the diagnosis of sporotrichosis due to limitations in sensitivity and specificity.

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