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Sporotrichosis USMLE Notes & Mnemonics contains all the high-yield points you need to know.

  • Sporotrichosis: A fungal infection caused by Sporothrix schenckii, typically affecting the skin, subcutaneous tissues, and sometimes lungs or other organs.


  • Often seen in gardeners, farmers, and others who work with soil or plants.
  • Common in tropical and subtropical regions.


  • Inoculation through skin from contaminated plant material, soil, or wood.
  • Not transmitted from person to person.


  • The fungus enters through a break in the skin and then causes a localized or lymphocutaneous infection.

Clinical Features:

  • Cutaneous Sporotrichosis: Most common form.
    1. Small painless nodule at the site of inoculation.
    2. Nodules may ulcerate and spread along lymphatic channels.
  • Lymphocutaneous Sporotrichosis:
  1. Ascending lymphangitis with nodules along the lymphatic vessels.
  2. Disseminated and Pulmonary Forms: Rare, may occur in immunocompromised individuals.


  • Culture: Gold standard; samples from skin lesions or sputum.
  • Biopsy: Reveals granulomas with asteroid bodies.
  • Serologic Tests: Can support the diagnosis but are less commonly used.


  • Itraconazole: First-line therapy for cutaneous and lymphocutaneous forms.
  • Potassium Iodide: Oral solution can be effective, especially in resource-limited settings.
  • Amphotericin B: For severe, disseminated, or pulmonary disease.


  • Protective clothing and gloves for those handling soil, moss, or plants. (Ref)

Mnemonic: “SPORO

  • Soil and plants (source)
  • Painless nodule (initial symptom)
  • Oral Itraconazole (treatment)
  • Rising lesions along lymphatics (lymphocutaneous form)
  • Occupational risk (gardeners, farmers)

Chart: Forms of Sporotrichosis and Their Features

CutaneousPainless nodules, ulcerationItraconazole
LymphocutaneousNodules along lymphatic channelsItraconazole or Potassium Iodide
Disseminated/PulmonarySystemic symptoms, lung involvementAmphotericin B

Note: In USMLE exams, sporotrichosis might be presented in a vignette describing a patient with a history of gardening or outdoor work who presents with nodular skin lesions following the lymphatic distribution. Knowing the first-line treatment and the disease’s association with certain occupational exposures is crucial.

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