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Actinomycosis Treatment, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Types

Jul 28, 2023

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Causes Of Actinomycosis

Symptoms Of Actinomycosis

Types Of Actinomycosis

Risk factors Of Actinomycosis

How Can We Get Infected With Actinomycosis?

Diagnosis Of Actinomycosis

Treatment Of Actinomycosis

Prevention Of Actinomycosis

Actinomycosis Treatment, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Types

Actinomycosis, an uncommon bacterial infection, causes pus-filled areas (abscesses) that are surrounded by rough tissue. It originates from Actinomyces bacteria. Microorganisms known as actinomyces are safe and normally occur in your body. However, they could begin to grow in abnormal places as a result of a procedure, an accident, or a disease.

Actinomycosis gradually infects surrounding tissues, frequently leaving a tunnelling hole (an entry under your skin) that lasts for a very long time. Pus that is yellow in color and contains "sulphur granules" fills the wound. The sulphur granules are aggregations made up of immune cells and bacterium components. (Their name is derived from their yellow appearance; they don't actually contain sulphur.)

Sometimes, weeks or months after the infection first manifests, actinomycosis symptoms can occur.

Read this blog further to get a quick overview of this important topic for MICROBIOLOGY  to ace your NEET PG exam preparation.


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Causes Of Actinomycosis

The most typical cause of actinomycosis is bacteria called Actinomyces israelii (A. israelii). However, numerous other Actinomyces bacterium species, such as A. naeslundii, A. odontolyticus, A. viscosus, A. gerencseriae, and others, can also be the culprit.

Actinomyces typically inhabit mucous membranes on your neck, gastrointestinal tract, and vagina. These are only a few of the many bacteria that dwell on or in your body without causing any harm. However, if they enter an area where they shouldn't be, they will begin to reproduce and spread an illness.

Also Read: Bedbugs: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Symptoms Of Actinomycosis

Actinomycosis symptoms vary depending on the location of the infection. They may consist of:

  • Fever.
  • Loss of weight.
  • (Cervicofacial infection) Bumpy, fluid-filled areas on your neck, jaw, face, or mouth.
  • Infection in the mouth or jaw can cause significant jaw tightness or pain during chewing.
  • Lung infection causing chest pain.
  • Pain in the abdomen.
  • Bleeding or discharge from the vagina 

Since Actinomyces are slow-growing, it's possible that symptoms won't appear for months or even years after the procedure or illness that caused the infection.

Also Read: Legionnaires: Causes, Symptoms, Transmission, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications


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Types Of Actinomycosis

The mouth and face are the two regions that actinomyces most frequently infect. However, actinomycosis can also affect other areas of the body. The type of actinomycosis is identified by the area of your body that is infected by healthcare professionals:

  • The face, mouth, nose, neck, and jaw are all affected by cervicofacial actinomycosis. It's also known as "lumpy jaw."
  • Chest or lungs are affected by pulmonary or thoracic actinomycosis.
  • The pelvic region and reproductive organs are affected by uterine or pelvic actinomycosis.
  • Intestines or other abdominal organs are impacted by abdominal actinomycosis.

Also Read: Staphylococcus Aureus: Transmission, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Risk factors Of Actinomycosis

Actinomycosis risk factors include anything that can harm uterine, intestinal, or oral tissue. This comprises:

  • Diseases or conditions that cause tissue damage.
  • Dental hygiene problems.
  • Implants, operations, or procedures. The longer an IUD has been in place, the greater is the danger.
  • The reason why men and those assigned male at birth (AMAB) are at greater risk to develop actinomycosis than women and those assigned female at birth (AFAB) is unknown to experts. Additionally, because a weakened immune system makes it harder for you to fight off infections, you are at a higher risk.

Also Read: Giardiasis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

How Can We Get Infected With Actinomycosis?

Actinomyces bacteria invade areas of your body where they shouldn't, causing actinomycosis. For instance, a mucous membrane tear brought on by surgery, an injury, or some illnesses can let germs enter a portion of your body where they don't often reside. Bacteria can also flourish in mucosal membranes when foreign items are present.

Actinomycosis is most frequently contracted as a result of gum disease or dental operations. Additional factors include:

  • IUDs, or intrauterine devices.
  • Ingesting something alien, such as food, drink, or a foreign body, into your lungs.
  • Disorders of the abdomen, such as diverticulitis, peptic ulcer disease, or appendicitis.
  • Surgery on your abdominal cavity, such as a colectomy or the removal of your gallbladder (cholecystectomy).

Also Read: Group A Streptococcal Infections : Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Diagnosis Of Actinomycosis

Your symptoms and a fluid or tissue sample are used to diagnose actinomycosis by a medical professional. Actinomyces or the granules it produces are searched for by a pathologist under a microscope in the sample.

Rare and sometimes misdiagnosed as cancer, actinomycosis is a fungus. Occasionally, a thorough diagnosis may take a while.

Treatment Of Actinomycosis

Antibiotics are administered in large doses to treat actinomycosis. You often receive antibiotics from a physician for a few days or weeks via an IV in your arm, after which you continue to take antibiotics in pill form at home. They could also need to perform debridement, which is the removal of dead tissue from infected regions.

Drugs for the treatment of actinomycosis

To treat actinomycosis, a medical professional might prescribe one of the following antibiotics:

  • Penicillin.
  • Amoxicillin.
  • Erythromycin.
  • Tetracycline.
  • Doxycycline.
  • Minocycline.
  • Clindamycin.

Also Read: Listeriosis : Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention

Prevention Of Actinomycosis

By maintaining good oral health, you can lower your risk of developing the most prevalent kind of actinomycosis, cervicofacial actinomycosis. This comprises:

  • Avoiding tobacco use in general, including smoking.
  • Using fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth at least twice daily.
  • Everyday flossing.
  • Using a mouthwash with antibiotics.
  • Going to the dentist frequently. They can identify any possible problems with your teeth and gums at an early stage.
  • Other types of actinomycosis are rare and difficult to prevent.

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