Mucormycosis is an infection caused by a fungus. It affects the sinuses, brain, or lungs. The infection occurs most often in people who have a compromised immune system. This is a serious infection. The prognosis is usually poor, even with treatment.


The fungus is often found in soil and decaying plants. It will not make most people sick. People are more likely to get the infection if they have a weakened immune systems.

Risk Factors

The following factors increase your chance of developing mucormycosis:

  • Having a weakened immune system caused by:
    • Diabetes
    • AIDS
    • Leukemia
    • Lymphoma
    • Recently receiving an organ transplant
    • Long-term steroid use
    • Treatment with deferoxamine (an antidote to iron poisoning)
    • Metabolic acidosis (too much acid in the blood)
  • Having a sinus infection
  • Having pneumonia
  • Having mucormycosis of the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and kidneys

Sinus Infection

Sinus Infection
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  • Symptoms of infections of the sinuses and the brain (rhinocerebral mucormycosis):
    • Acute sinusitis
    • Fever
    • Swollen or protruding eyes
    • Dark nasal scabs
    • Redness of the skin over the sinuses
  • Symptoms of infections of the lungs (pulmonary mucormycosis):
    • Fever
    • Cough; occasionally coughing up blood
    • Shortness of breath
  • Symptoms of infections of the gastrointestinal tract (gastrointestinal mucormycosis):
    • Abdominal pain
    • Vomiting blood
  • Symptoms of infections in the kidneys (renal mucormycosis):
    • Pain in the side between the upper abdomen and the back
    • Fever


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Tests may include the following:

  • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the affected area
  • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the affected area
  • Analysis of a tissue sample


Options include:

  • Aggressive surgery—to remove all of the dead and/or infected tissue; early surgery may improve the prognosis
  • Antifungal therapy—IV antifungal medications may be used to kill the fungus throughout the body
Even with treatment the prognosis is usually poor.


The fungus that causes this infection is found in many places. Avoiding contact with it is difficult.

The best prevention is to control or prevent the conditions related to this infection.