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Sources of Mucormycosis

How does someone get mucormycosis?

There are two main types of infection that people can get, and these depend on the route of exposure. In the pulmonary or sinus form, exposure occurs by inhaling fungal spores from the environment. These spores can cause an infection to develop in the lungs, sinuses, eyes, and face, and in rare cases the infection can spread to the central nervous system. In the cutaneous form, the fungus can enter the skin through cuts, scrapes, puncture wounds, or other forms of trauma to the skin. Mucormycosis is not contagious and does not spread from person to person.


Several different fungi can cause mucormycosis, but the most common is Rhizopus arrhizus (oryzae). Less frequent causes of infection include Lichtheimia (Absidia) corymbifera, Apophysomyces elegans, Cunninghamella bertholletiae, Rhizomucor pusillus and Saksenaea vasiformis. All cause similar diseases in humans, and the diagnostic and treatment approaches are similar.


The fungi that cause mucormycosis are found in the soil and decomposing organic matter, such as leaves or wood.


Most human infections follow inhalation of fungal spores that have been released into the air. Less frequently, infection occurs during traumatic inoculation, when fungal organisms gain entrance to deep body tissues following a traumatic event that damages the skin. Infection can also occur following ingestion of contaminated food.

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