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Symptoms and Causes of Zygomycosis

Symptoms and Causes of Zygomycosis
Atefa Noorain
Atefa Noorain
August19/ 2016

Zygomycosis also called as mucormycosis is an infection caused by bread mold fungi. Members of Zygomycetes are known to cause infection in humans and animals. These fungi are primitive and fast growing and cosmopolitan in distribution.  Zymgomycosis is a lethal invasive infection in immunocompromised patients. The causative agent for zygomycosis is generally found in soil and in decaying matter.

The person can gets infected with zygomycetes by inhaling the fungal spores. The fungal spores are generally harmless for a healthy individual, but are harmful for people who are immunocompromised or have a serious chronic illness. These fungal spores mainly affect the lungs and sinus after inhalation.

The fungal spores can enter into your body either through inhalation or through skin. The open wounds o the skin, burns, cuts on the skin surface can helps the fungal spores to enter the body and cause infection.


The symptoms depend on the part of the body where fungus is growing. When the infection involves the brain and sinus it is referred to as rhino cerebral mucormycosis or rhinocerebral zygomycosis. The common symptoms of rhinocerebral mucormycosis are:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • One-sided swelling
  • Nasal congestion

When the infection spreads to the lungs, it is referred to as pulmonary mucormycosis. The common symptoms observed in pulmonary mucormycosis patients are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Fungal spores can cause skin lesions or ulcers and the infection is referred to as cutaneous mucormycosis. The common symptoms of cutaneous mucormycosis are:

  • Blisters on skin
  • Skin ulcers
  • Black coloration of the infected area
  • Pain in the infected area
  • Redness on the spot of infection
  • Swelling around the wound

The fungal spores can cause infection in the gastrointestinal system of your body. The visible symptoms in gastrointestinal mucormycosis include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding

There are certain infections that occur in a person who is already sick from different infections or disease conditions. Disease that does not show any clear visible symptoms due to the presence of an existing infectious condition is called disseminated mucormycosis.

Risk factors

Zygomycosis or mycosis is a very infectious disease see in people. Person’s immune system plays a major role in preventing this infection. There are different conditions that specify the risk factors for zygomycosis.

  • Diabetes

Diabetes patients have a weak immune system and thus it increases the risk of developing zygomycosis.

  • Cancer

Cancer patients are at an increased rate of developing zygomycosis.

  • Organ transplant

Patients who has undergone a surgery in past have more chances of developing zygomycosis.

  • Stem cell transplant

Stem cell transplantation is essential for many other diseases. If you have undergone a stem cell transplantation surgery, you need to be careful as you will be getting directly exposed to fungal infection or zygomycosis.

  • Neutropenia

Presence of less number of neutrophils is a condition called neutropenia. Patients suffering with neutropenia are at high risk of any infection.

Atefa Noorain
Atefa Noorain

Atefa Noorain, (Microbiologist) former Head of the Department of Life Sciences, Assistant Professor of Microbiology at Sujatha Degree College for Women. She worked as an Associate Research Analyst at Thomson Reuters and an Associate Editor of two research journals. She has presented her research work in 3 International Conferences. She has written articles for national journals and international journals. She had been felicitated as a Young Speaker in the last conference. She has worked on Nanoparticles as a part of her research project and won the Best Scientist of the Day award.

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