In this final installment of my miniseries, I will explore fungal, or “mycotic” arthritis. This is a rare condition that affects bone and joint tissue. It arises from several conditions, all caused by fungi.
Below are a few of the fungi-induced ailments that we can catch from coming into contact with contaminated soil:
- Blastomycosis: caused by the fungus Blastomyces dermatitidis. Contracted by inhaling spores from infected wood or soil. Found mainly in south –central and Midwest regions of the United States and Canada. Rare. Usually affects people with weakened immune systems.
- Cryptococcosis: caused by the fungus: Cryptococcus neoformans. This fungus is also found in soil and infects the body through the lungs. It can lead to serious neurological symptoms in people with compromised immune systems.
- Histoplasmosis: caused by the fungus: Histoplasma capsulatum. Like the others, this fungus enters through the lungs. It lives as a mold in the soil, and areas contaminated with bird or bat droppings can have higher concentrations of histoplasma. Histoplasmosis can produce flu-like symptoms, and is a more serious concern in people with decreased lung function.
- Sporotrichosis: Sporothrix schenckii. Our old friend, the skin infection, “rose thorn disease.” Please read my previous post for more information.
All of the above-mentioned fungal infections can cause fungal arthritis. Doctors test for arthritis using procedures such as x- rays and synovial (joint) fluid biopsies.
I have to say that after researching this series, I might just tuck a face mask into my gardening bag for windy days…..