Infectious Disease Compendium

Rhizopus

Microbiology

A mould, a zygomyces; one of the causes of mucormycosis.

Epidemiologic Risks

Environmental, it lives in decaying vegetable matter and soon to be decaying patients.Desferoximine is a risk factor in dialysis patients.

Syndromes

Invasive disease, both local (esp lung) and disseminated in the profoundly immunoincompetent.

Important variations:

- Skin disease, especially in burn patients.

- Invasive pneumonia: especially in patients with hematologic malignancies and on steroids.

- Rhinocerebral: in diabetic ketoacidosis and patients with hematologic malignancies and on steroids. It invades along the muscle of the eyes into the brain. Look for a fixed eye and/or unilateral proptosis. A real emergency if found.

Treatment

Debride if at all possible. Amphotericin B has been the treatment of choice, but depending on the species, posaconazole looks promising in vitro. I would stick with debridement for now.