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Actinomycosis (ak-tuh-nuh-my-KOH-sihs), is a rare infectious bacterial disease of humans generally caused by Actinomyces israelii, A. gerencseriae and Propionibacterium propionicus, though the condition is likely to be polymicrobial. Characterized by the formation of painful abscesses in the mouth, lungs, or digestive organs, actinomycosis abscesses grow larger as the disease progresses, often over a period of months. In severe cases, the abscesses may penetrate the surrounding bone and muscle to the skin, where they break open and leak large amounts of pus.
Additional recommended knowledge
Actinomycosis occurs in cattle and other animals as a disease called lumpy jaw. This name refers to the large abscesses that grow on the head and neck of the infected animal.
In 1877 pathologist Otto Bollinger described the presence of Actinomyces bovis in cattle, and shortly afterwards, James Israel discovered Actinomyces israelii in humans. In 1890 Eugen Bostroem isolated the causative organism from a culture of grain, grasses, and soil. After Bostroem's discovery there was a general misconception that actinomycosis was a mycosis that affected individuals who chewed grass or straw.
Actinomycosis is primarily caused by any of several members of the bacterial genus Actinomyces. These bacteria are generally anaerobes. Actinomyces spp. normally live in the small spaces between the teeth and gums, causing infection only when they can multiply freely in anoxic environments. The three most common sites of infection are decayed teeth, the lungs, and the intestines.
Since Actinomyces bacteria are generally sensitive to penicillin, it is frequently used to treat actinomycosis.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Actinomycosis". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|