Facts About Gastrointestinal Basidiobolomycosis: CDC-OC


Article title: Facts About Gastrointestinal Basidiobolomycosis: CDC-OC
Conditions: Gastrointestinal Basidiobolomycosis
Source: CDC-OC
Gastrointestinal Basidiobolomycosis

August 20, 1998
Contact: Media Relations Division
(404) 639-3286

  • Basidiobolomycosis of the gastrointestinal tract is a new or emerging infection that may have been previously unrecognized. Cases of gastrointestinal basidiobolomycosis are often misdiagnosed as cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Basidiobolomycosis of the gastrointestinal tract is very rare in people. Only 6 cases have been described in the world's medical literature. Those cases were reported from Brazil (3), Kuwait (1), and the United States (2). Half of the case-patients died despite medical therapy.
  • Basidiobolomycosis of the gastrointestinal tract usually begins with pain, and sometimes a mass can be felt in the abdomen. Treatment is not standardized, but should include itraconazole or ketoconazole possibly with surgical removal of the mass.
  • A more common form of basidiobolomycosis causes chronic, subcutaneous, fungal infection that usually affects people and some animals (such as horses and dogs). The name of the specific fungus is Basidiobolus ranarum.
  • The fungus is found mainly in the soil and on decaying vegetation. It has also been isolated from the river banks of tropical rivers in West Africa, and has also been found in association with some insects. The fungus is known to be present in the gastrointestinal tracts of reptiles, amphibians, and some bat species.
  • Subcutaneous disease is found most commonly among adolescent males in East and West Africa and Southeast Asia. The mechanism of transmission is thought to be traumatic inoculation.
  • The disease usually starts as a painless nodule or "lump" underneath the skin on the trunk or limbs. The nodule grows slowly and can become large and disfiguring. Sometimes the nodules can block the lymphatic drainage from the limb causing swelling or elephantiasis.
  • Several medicines have been successfully used to treat basidiobolomycosis; these include: itraconazole, ketoconazole, co-trimoxazole, and potassium chloride. All of these medications are given by mouth, but they require many months of treatment. Treatment usually continues for at least 1 month after the lesions disappear.

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