Infections caused by fungi belonging to the phylum Zygomycota encompass a variety of clinical presentations, the severity and outcome of which depend, in large part, on the immunologic status of the host, as well as the particular fungal species causing the infection. Generally, infections due to Zygomycete fungi of the Mucorales order (ie, Rhizopus, Mucor, Absidia, Cunninghamella, etc) occur in immunocompromised individuals or patients with poorly controlled diabetes mellitus. These characteristically are angioinvasive, frequently disseminate, and have a rapid and often fatal clinical course. Conversely, diseases caused by Zygomycetes of the Entomophthorales order (Conidiobolus and Basidiobolus) most commonly present in immunocompetent hosts, predominantly involve subcutaneous tissue, and typically have a protracted and chronic clinical evolution. Disease caused by the Entomophthorales is most often encountered in tropical areas of the world where the causative fungi have been isolated from both soil and plant detritus. We review the clinical and histopathologic characteristics of chronic subcutaneous zygomycoses apropos of a case recently diagnosed at our institution.
From the *Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Divisions of †Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and ‡Microbiology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Miami/Miller School of Medicine, Miami, and §Division of Infectious Diseases, JFK Medical Center, Palm Beach County, FL.
Reprints: Maria T. Perez, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Jackson Memorial Hospital, Holtz Building (East Tower), Room 2013, 1611 NW 12th Ave, Miami, FL 33136. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.