Eumycetoma and actinomycetoma--an update on causative agents, epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnostics and therapy.
Mycetoma is a chronic putrid infection of the cutaneous and subcutaneous tissue concerning predominantly the feet, and more rarely other body parts. Mycetoma can be caused by both fungi (eumycetoma) and bacteria (actinomycetoma). Mode of infection is an inoculation of the causative microorganism via small injuries of the skin. The clinical correlate of both forms of mycetoma is tumescence with abscesses, painless nodules, sinuses and discharge. The latter is commonly serous-purulent and contains grains (filamentous granules) which can be expressed for diagnostic purposes. Distinctive for both eumycetoma and actinomycetoma, are the formation of grains. Grains represent microcolonies of the microorganism in vivo in the vital tissue. The most successful treatment option for eumycetomas offers itraconazole in a dosage of 200 mg twice daily. This triazole antifungal is considered as 'gold standard' for eumycetomas. Alternatively, the cheaper ketoconazole was widely used, however, it was currently stopped by the FDA. Actinomycetomas should be treated by the combination of trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole (co-trimoxazole 80/400 to 160/800 mg per day) and amikacin 15 mg/kg body weight per day. Mycetomas are neglected infections of the poor. They are more than a medical challenge. In rural areas of Africa, Asia and South America mycetomas lead to socio-economic consequences involving the affected patients, their families and the society in general.