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Diagnosis and Treatment

Talk to your doctor if you have an injury that won’t heal and are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms listed. You should also tell your doctor how you were wounded because that information may improve your chances for getting a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


Your doctor can help you find out if you have the disease by performing tests that can identify the bacteria that cause nocardiosis.
To conduct these tests, the doctor may need to take samples from the area of your body that is infected. For example:

  • Lungs (or other parts of the lower airways)
  • Mucus from the lower airways
  • Skin
  • Brain tissue


People with nocardiosis may need to take multiple antibiotics given for several months—or even up to a year or more. Treatments are sometimes given for a long time to prevent symptoms from returning. Sometimes abscesses or wound infections need to be surgically drained.

Because some Nocardia species are resistant to certain antibiotics, laboratory testing is needed to find out which species is causing the infection. Your doctor might run tests to find out which antibiotics the bacteria are resistant to so that you are given a treatment that will stop your infection.

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment for you.