Actinomycosis is a bacterial infection that results in abscesses (collections of pus) in the abdominal cavity, jaw (cervicofacial), lungs (thoracic), or all over the body (generalized actinomycosis). This condition can be treated, so contact your doctor if you think you may have actinomycosis.
Actinomycosis is most often caused by infection by the bacterium, Actinomyces israelii , which is present in the gums, teeth, and tonsils.
A risk factor is something that increases your chance for getting a disease or condition. The following factors increase your chance of developing actinomycosis. If you have any of these risk factors, tell your doctor:
- Dental disease
- Aspiration (liquids or solids are sucked into lungs)
If you experience any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to actinomycosis. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.
- Weight loss
- Drainage of pus through the skin
- Small, flat, hard, sometimes painful swellings around the mouth, neck, or jaw, which may discharge pus
- Sputum-producing cough
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include the following:
- Analyses of pus, sputum, or tissue
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
High doses of antibiotics are used to treat actinomycosis.
Drainage of Abscesses
Your doctor will drain pus-containing abscesses.
American Dental Association
National Institutes of Health
Canadian Dental Association
Canadian Institute for Health Information
Actinomycosis. DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed101.epnet.com/Detail.aspx?id=116458 . Accessed December 3, 2006.
Actinomycosis. Merck website. Available at: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec17/ch190/ch190b.html . Accessed December 3, 2006.
Last reviewed November 2008 by ]]>David L. Horn, MD, FACP]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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