• Also known as "Rose gardener's disease"[1]
  • Caused by the fungus Sporothrix schenckii[2] found on rose thorns
  • Usually affects skin, although other rare forms can affect the lungs, joints, bones, and brain
  • Enters skin through small cuts and abrasions, and inhalation for pulmonary disease
  • Can also be acquired from handling cats with the disease

Clinical Features

Fixed cutaneous sporotrichosis. A crusted/verrucous plaque develops at inoculation site, seen here over face of a child.
Lymphocutaneous sporotrichosis.
Lymphocutaneous sporotrichosis. Noduloulcerative lesions appear along the lymphatics proximal to the initial inoculation injury site.

Progresses slowly: first symptoms may appear 1 to 12 weeks (average 3 weeks) after the initial exposure to the fungus

Forms and Symptoms

  • Cutaneous or skin
    • Most common form
    • Symptoms include nodular lesions or bumps in the skin, at the point of entry and also along lymph nodes and vessels
      • Lesion starts off small and painless, and ranges in color from pink to purple
      • Left untreated, lesion becomes larger and looks similar to an abscess. More lesions will appear until a chronic ulcer develops
  • Pulmonary sporotrichosis
  • Disseminated sporotrichosis
    • May affect joints and bones (osteoarticular sporotrichosis) and or CNS (sporotrichosis meningitis)
    • Symptoms include weight loss, anorexia, and appearance of bony lesions

Differential Diagnosis

Skin and Soft Tissue Infection


Hand and finger infections



  • Fungal culture of skin, sputum, synovial fluid, or CSF


  • Antifungal medication
    • Itraconazole
      • Drug of choice (more effective than fluconazole)
    • Fluconazole
      • Fluconazole (for patients who cannot tolerate itraconazole)
    • Amphotericin B IV
      • For disseminated of severe disease
  • Surgery
  • Standard antibiotics
    • Lesions sometimes become superinfected, consider as necessary


  • Normally treated as outpatient

See Also


  1. Rapini, Ronald P.; Bolognia, Jean L.; Jorizzo, Joseph L. (2007). Dermatology: 2-Volume Set. St. Louis: Mosby. ISBN 1-4160-2999-0.
  2. Ryan KJ, Ray CG (editors) (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology (4th ed.). McGraw Hill. pp. 654–6. ISBN 0-8385-8529-9.