Zygomycosis – a case report and overview of the disease in India


Dr S. N. Gaur, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, University of Delhi, Delhi, P.O. Box 110007, India.
E-mail: sngaur@yahoo.com


A case of zygomycosis caused by Rhizopus oryzae in a diabetic patient previously misdiagnosed as invasive pulmonary aspergillosis and an overview of the disease in India are presented. The case was diagnosed by direct microscopy, histopathologic examination and culture. Following surgical resection of pulmonary cavity under cover of amphotericin B administration, the patient recovered completely. Of 461 cases reported to-date, approximately 70% had been diagnosed at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, in north India. This may be attributed to better awareness, expertise and infrastructural facilities for mycological diagnosis than to any particular regional preponderance of the disease. Rhino-orbito-cerebral manifestations were the most common feature of zygomycosis (269 cases), followed by cutaneous disease (66 cases), which is in conformity with the pattern prevalent worldwide. The etiologic agents encountered were Rhizopus oryzae, Apophysomyces elegans, Saksenaea vasiformis, Cunninghamella bertholletiae, Absidia corymbifera, Basidiobolus ranarum and Conidiobolus coronatus. In contrast to cases from the developed world where transplant recipients and patients with haematological malignancies seem to be most vulnerable to zygomycosis, the most common risk factor in India was uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. Amphotericin B was the mainstay of various treatment modalities employed. The relevance of a strong clinical suspicion and early diagnosis of zygomycosis for favourable prognosis can hardly be over-emphasised.