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.
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.
In this Article
- Mucormycosis (zygomycosis) facts
- What is mucormycosis?
- What causes mucormycosis?
- What are risk factors for mucormycosis?
- What are symptoms and signs of mucormycosis?
- How is mucormycosis diagnosed?
- What is the treatment of mucormycosis?
- What are complications of mucormycosis?
- What is the prognosis of mucormycosis?
- Can mucormycosis be prevented?
- What research is being done on mucormycosis?
- Where can people find more information on mucormycosis?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
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.
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