Risk of Infection

People with very weak immune (body defense) systems are at risk for getting nocardiosis.

Several diseases and conditions can cause the immune system to be weak. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (an illness that causes the air sacs of the lungs to become plugged)
  • Connective tissue disorder (a disease that affects the tissue that connects and supports different parts of the body)
  • Alcoholism
  • Having a bone marrow or solid organ transplant
  • Taking high doses of drugs called corticosteroids

In the United States, it has been estimated that 500-1,000 new cases of nocardiosis infection occur every year. Approximately 60% of nocardiosis cases are associated with pre-existing immune compromise.

In addition, men have a greater risk of getting the infection than women; for every female who gets sick with nocardiosis, there are about 3 males who get the disease.