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What Is Chromoblastomycosis?

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  • Written By: J. D. Kenrich
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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Also referred to as Fonseca's disease, phaeosporotrichosis and Pedroso's disease, the skin ailment known as chromoblastomycosis is a chronic fungal infection able to affect both visible areas of the body and subcutaneous tissues. The disease initially tends to develop near a wound site or near another type of trauma to the lower extremities. The condition is noted for its ability to cause the growth of nodules resembling large warts, papillomas and ulcerated lesions that eventually can spread and intensify. Chromoblastomycosis is almost never deadly, but it often proves quite stubborn in the face of treatment and may require significant surgical and drug intervention.

Symptoms of chromoblastomycosis include the initial presentation and subsequent spread of growths that may resemble cauliflower in appearance. Manifestations of the ailment may first take the form of smaller, reddish lesions that eventually progress to become far more conspicuous in nature. Many years often pass between the initial skin trauma and the emergence of more serious infections, and it is commonly the case that the triggering injury is forgotten by the patient because of its relative insignificance at the time of occurrence. Once the condition becomes evident, it is possible for significant complications to develop, resulting in the need for more aggressive medical care.

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Advanced cases of chromoblastomycosis present the potential for relatively serious complications. In most cases, this type of infection does not progress beyond the area of the initial skin trauma. More difficult presentations of this ailment can emerge when the fungal infection spreads to the blood and lymphatic systems of the patient, resulting in major swelling of the limbs and possible secondary infections. Elephantitis and necrosis are additional complications observed in more advanced cases of chromoblastomycosis and will require additional modes of treatment. On rare occasions, lesions caused by this type of infection have mutated into squamous cell carcinoma, a malignant form of skin cancer.

Typical drug treatments for chromoblastomycosis include the administration of antifungal azoles, often in conjunction with flucytosine. In cases in which a secondary bacterial infection has occurred, antibiotics will be prescribed. Surgical interventions for this condition include targeted excision of skin lesions and cryosurgery techniques that employ cold liquid nitrogen to destroy the affected tissues. With appropriate treatment, chromoblastomycosis patients enjoy a positive prognosis, particularly in cases characterized by smaller, more confined infections. Even in advanced cases in which noticeable physical scarring has occurred, the condition is almost always manageable, and instances of death or incapacity resulting from the infection are extraordinarily rare.

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