Whereas cutaneous mycoses are superficial, subcutaneous mycoses can spread from the skin to deeper tissues. In temperate regions, the most common subcutaneous mycosis is a condition called sporotrichosis, caused by the fungus Sporothrix schenkii and commonly known as rose gardener’s disease or rose thorn disease. Sporotrichosis is often contracted after working with soil, plants, or timber, as the fungus can gain entry through a small wound such as a thorn-prick or splinter. Sporotrichosis can generally be avoided by wearing gloves and protective clothing while gardening and promptly cleaning and disinfecting any wounds sustained during outdoor activities.
Sporothrix infections initially present as small ulcers in the skin, but the fungus can spread to the lymphatic system and sometimes beyond. When the infection spreads, nodules appear, become necrotic, and may ulcerate. As more lymph nodes become affected, abscesses and ulceration may develop over a larger area (often on one arm or hand). In severe cases, the infection may spread more widely throughout the body, although this is relatively uncommon.
Sporothrix infection can be diagnosed based upon histologic examination of the affected tissue. Its macroscopic morphology can be observed by culturing the mold on potato dextrose agar, and its microscopic morphology can be observed by staining a slide culture with lactophenol cotton blue. Treatment with itraconazole is generally recommended.
Parker, N., Schneegurt, M., Thi Tu, A.-H., Forster, B. M., & Lister, P. (n.d.). Microbiology. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: https://openstax.org/details/books/microbiology