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Sporotrichosis: An Infectious Emerging Mycosis of Zoonotic Potential

Mycotic diseases are being recognized as an important global public health problem of considerable dimension. These diseases occur in sporadic as well as in epidemic form, resulting in high morbidity and mortality. Among several mycoses, sporotrichosis, caused by a thermo-dimorphic fungus Sporothrix schenckii, has emerged as an infectious disease in certain regions of the world. The pathogen infects a wide variety of animals, but the cat is recognized as the pertinent source of sporotrichosis to humans. Humans usually acquire infection following traumatic inoculation of fungal contaminated materials or through bites and scratches by diseased cat. It is predominantly a disease of young people who have frequent contact with saprobic reservoirs. Males are more affected than females. The isolation of fungus from clinical specimens remains the ‘gold standard’ for confirming an unequivocal diagnosis of disease. A number of drugs including potassium iodide, amphotericin B, terbinafine, ketaconazole, and itraconazole are used to treat the cases of sporotrichosis. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment help in the management of the disease. The prognosis of the disease is favourable, provided an early treatment is instituted before the dissemination of the infection. There is a need to create awareness among the dermatologists and physicians about sporotrichosis so that disease is not misdiagnosed. Further research on the ecology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and chemotherapy is recommended. It is emphasized that ‘Narayan’ stain should be widely employed in microbiology and public health laboratories for morphological studies of fungi.

Author(s): Mahendra Pal, Pratibha Dave

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