Mucormycosis is an infection caused by a fungus. It affects the sinuses, brain, lungs, and sometimes the skin. The infection occurs most often in people who have a compromised immune system. This is a serious infection. The prognosis is usually poor, even with treatment.
The fungus is often found in soil and decaying plants. It will not make most people sick. People are more likely to get the infection if they have a weakened immune system.
The following factors increase your chance of developing mucormycosis:
Having a weakened immune system caused by:
- Recently receiving an organ transplant
- Long-term steroid use
(an antidote to iron poisoning)
- Metabolic acidosis (too much acid in the blood)
- Having mucormycosis of the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and kidneys
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Symptoms of infections of the sinuses and the brain (rhinocerebral mucormycosis):
- Acute sinusitis
- Swollen or protruding eyes
- Dark nasal scabs
- Redness of the skin over the sinuses
Symptoms of infections of the lungs (pulmonary mucormycosis):
- Cough; occasionally coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms of infections of the gastrointestinal tract (gastrointestinal mucormycosis):
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting blood
Symptoms of infections in the kidneys (renal mucormycosis):
- Pain in the side between the upper abdomen and the back
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include the following:
- CT scan
—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the affected area
- MRI scan
—a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the affected area
- Analysis of a tissue sample
The prognosis is usually poor even with treatment.
- Aggressive surgery—to remove all of the dead and/or infected tissue; early surgery may improve the prognosis
- Antifungal therapy—IV (given through a needle in the arm) antifungal medicines may be used to kill the fungus throughout the body
The fungus that causes this infection is found in many places. Avoiding contact with it is difficult. The best prevention is to control or prevent the conditions related to this infection.
National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Canadian Lung Association
Fungal infections. National Foundation for Infectious Diseases website. Available at:
April 15, 2007.
Mucormycosis. University of Tennessee Medical Center website. Available at:
April 15, 2007.
Radha S, Tameem T, Fernandez DK, Satyanarayana G. Gastric zygomycosis (mucormycosis).
The Internet J Pathol