Lobomycosis: An emerging disease in humans and delphinidae

Department of Dermatology, Tufts Medical Center and Miraca Life Sciences, Boston, MA 02111, USA.
Mycoses (Impact Factor: 2.24). 03/2012; 55(4):298-309. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0507.2012.02184.x
Source: PubMed


Lobomycosis, a disease caused by the uncultivable dimorphic onygenale fungi Lacazia loboi, remains to date as an enigmatic illness, both due to the impossibility of its aetiological agent to be cultured and grown in vitro, as well as because of its unresponsiveness to specific antifungal treatments. It was first described in the 1930s by Brazilian dermatologist Jorge Lobo and is known to cause cutaneous and subcutaneous localised and widespread infections in humans and dolphins. Soil and vegetation are believed to be the chief habitat of the fungus, however, increasing reports in marine mammals has shifted the attention to the aquatic environment. Infection in humans has also been associated with proximity to water, raising the hypothesis that L. loboi may be a hydrophilic microorganism that penetrates the skin by trauma. Although its occurrence was once thought to be restricted to New World tropical countries, its recent description in African patients has wrecked this belief. Antifungals noted to be effective in the empirical management of other cutaneous/subcutaneous mycoses have proven unsuccessful and unfortunately, no satisfactory therapeutic approach for this cutaneous infection currently exists.

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    ABSTRACT: Lobomycosis, also known as Jorge Lobo's disease, represents a rare chronic subcutaneous mycosis caused by the fungus Lacazia loboi, an organism that is found within lesions but has not been cultured to date. The natural reservoir of L. loboi is unknown but it is believed to be aquatic, or associated with soil and vegetation. More than 550 human cases have been reported, especially in patients with a history of travel or residence in endemic areas (Central and South America, particularly Brazil) or in communities along rivers. We describe a 64-year-old Greek female farmer living in a coastal region, who presented with an erythematous plaque on her left inner thigh resembling a keloid. The diagnosis was based on the triad: 1) absence of fungal growth in cultures, 2) positive direct microscopic examination of the lesion and 3) histopathology, all consistent with lobomycosis. Particularly, skin biopsy showed deep cutaneous fungal infection with granulomatous reaction. Fungal cells were found inside giant cells. The fungi were thick-walled with some budding, isolated or in short chains. Dermal fibrosis was present. Our patient had a medical history of common variable immunodeficiency but no history of travel to South or Central America. She probably acquired this rare infection by injury during her agricultural works. Our case represents probably the first documented case of human lobomycosis in Southeastern Europe. This case is unusual due to the rarity of lobomycosis in Mediterranean countries, particularly in Southeastern Europe.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · Journal of Dermatological Case Reports
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Lobomycosis, a fungal disease of the skin and subcutaneous tissues caused by Lacazia loboi, is sometimes referred to as a zoonotic disease because it affects only specific delphinidae and humans; however, the evidence that it can be transferred directly to humans from dolphins is weak. Dolphins have also been postulated to be responsible for an apparent geographic expansion of the disease in humans. Morphological and molecular differences between the human and dolphin organisms, differences in geographic distribution of the diseases between dolphins and humans, the existence of only a single documented case of presumed zoonotic transmission, and anecdotal evidence of lack of transmission to humans following accidental inoculation of tissue from infected dolphins do not support the hypothesis that dolphins infected with L. loboi represent a zoonotic hazard for humans. In addition, the lack of human cases in communities adjacent to coastal estuaries with a high prevalence of lobomycosis in dolphins, such as the Indian River Lagoon in Florida (IRL), suggests that direct or indirect transmission of L. loboi from dolphins to humans occurs rarely, if at all. Nonetheless, attention to personal hygiene and general principals of infection control are always appropriate when handling tissues from an animal with a presumptive diagnosis of a mycotic or fungal disease.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.)
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