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March 9, 1957


JAMA. 1957;163(10):805-808. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02970450007003

• Mucormycosis is a disease caused by certain fungi, especially Rhizopus, that are common contaminants of laboratory cultures and not ordinarily pathogenic. The fungi enter the nose, and in susceptible patients they produce sinusitis and orbital cellulitis, penetrate arteries to produce thrombosis of the ophthalmic and internal carotid arteries, and later invade veins and lymphatics. There are ocular, cerebral, pulmonary, intestinal, and disseminated forms of the disease. The orbital involvement is illustrated in two case histories. One patient died in coma after the invasion of the meninges and brain; the other recovered but had residual blindness in one eye. There is reason to suspect that uncontrolled diabetes, leukemia, antileukemic drugs, some antibiotics, and cortisone render a patient susceptible to the invasion. Diagnosis depends on recognition of the fungus in specimens of tissue or of body fluids. Treatment consists in controlling the diabetes if present and discontinuing the use of the suspected drugs.