Paracoccidioidomycosis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What is Paracoccidioidomycosis?

Paracoccidioidomycosis, commonly known as South American Blastomycosis, is a mild to severe systemic fungal infection caused by Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. It is mostly found in the tropical regions of Central and South America and affects the lungs, skin and mucous membranes. The infection is widespread in the rural and agricultural areas of Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru.

Causes of Paracoccidioidomycosis

Paracoccidioidomycosis is caused by inhaling the spore of the fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. The fungus can live as a saprophyte in soil and decaying organic matter. It is not spread from one person to another.

Symptoms of Paracoccidioidomycosis

  • Coughing with bloody sputum.
  • Fever.
  • Night sweats.
  • Weight loss.
  • Lower abdominal pain.
  • Headache.
  • Skin rash.
  • Nodules of the skin and subcutaneous tissue.
  • Inflammation of the lymph nodes.
  • Presence of numerous egg-shaped granulomas in the lungs.

Testing and Diagnosis

The diagnosis of the disease is made based on the examination of sputum, skin biopsies, chest X-ray, thoracic MRI and culture of the fungus.

Treatment of Paracoccidioidomycosis

The treatment of the condition is with antifungal medications such as itraconazole, amphotericin B and fluconazole. Surgery may be necessary in case of abscesses.