Mycetoma can be caused by bacteria (actinomycetoma) or fungi (eumycetoma) and typically affects poor communities in remote areas. It is an infection of subcutaneous tissues resulting in mass and sinus formation and a discharge that contains grains. The lesion is usually on the foot but all parts of the body can be affected. The causative microorganisms probably enter the body by a thorn prick or other lesions of the skin. Mycetoma has a worldwide distribution but is restricted to specific climate zones. Microbiological diagnosis and characterisation of the exact organism causing mycetoma is difficult; no reliable serological test exists but molecular techniques to identify relevant antigens have shown promise. Actinomycetoma is treated with courses of antibiotics, which usually include co-trimoxazole and amikacin. Eumycetoma has no acceptable treatment at present; antifungals such as ketoconazole and itraconazole have been used but are unable to eradicate the fungus, need to be given for long periods, and are expensive. Amputations and recurrences in patients with eumycetoma are common.

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The Lancet Infectious Diseases
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Zijlstra, E., van de Sande, W., Welsh, O., Maghoub, E. S., Goodfellow, M., & Fahal, A. (2016). Mycetoma: a unique neglected tropical disease. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 16(1), 100–112. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(15)00359-X