Nocardiosis is an infection, resulted from the bacterium, called Nocardia Asteroides, that usually starts in the lungs and spreads to the brain Nocardiosisand skin.

Bacterium nocardia asteroides lives in the soil on decaying matter. Such bacteria carry air consisting of soil dust and are breathed into the lungs. Rarely, the bacteria enters the body through the skin or by being swallowed.

The individuals with higher risk for Nocardiosis are those with suppressing immune systems and individuals who are chronically ill. However, approx. 50% of the individuals who have this condition are elderly with no preexisting diseases.

Nocardiosis frequently starts as a lung infection, such as pneumonia. It may spread through the blood, resulting in abscesses (pus pockets) in many parts of body, including the person’s brain, and, sometimes, the kidney. Abscess develops, beneath or in the skin in approx. 1/3 of the cases.

In pneumonia resulted from nocardia, such symptoms as weight loss, cough, loss of appetite, general weakness, fever, chills, shortness of breath and chest, pain can occur. Fluid can accumulate in the pleural space. Such symptoms are similar to symptoms of tuberculosis or other bacterial pneumonia’s types. Approx. 1/3 individuals who have Nocardiosis, develop a brain abscess and have severe headaches, weakness, or altered sensations. The body part that becomes weakened is based on location of the brain abscess.

Nocardiosis diagnosis depends on detecting the bacterium. Nocardia Asteroides, in samples is obtained from an infected person’s tissue or body fluid. With or without treatment, the Nocardiosis infection may be fatal. The prognosis is poor for individuals, having immuno-supressive therapy; and prognosis is better, if the infection is only in the lungs, than if it had spread to other body’s parts, such as brain.

Antibiotic, such as Penicillin is helpful in only approx. 40% of the cases. Sulfadiazine can be also effective, but should be used for few months. For some individuals, only Amikacin is helpful.

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