Pulmonary actinomycosis is a rare bacterial lung infection.
Actinomycosis – pulmonary
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Pulmonary actinomycosis is caused by certain bacteria normally found in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract, where they do not usually cause harm. However, poor
Alcohol abuse, having scars on the lungs (bronchiectasis), and emphysema are all associated with lung infections caused by actinomycosis.
The disease is rare in the U.S. It may occur at any age, but most patients are 30 – 60 years old. Men get this infection more often than women do.
The infection usually comes on slowly. It may be weeks or months before a doctor makes a diagnosis.
Chest painwhen taking a deep breath Coughwith phlegm (sputum) Fever Lethargy
- Night sweats
Shortness of breath Weight loss
Signs and tests
Tests that may be done include:
Bronchoscopywith culture Complete blood count(CBC) Chest x-ray Chest CT scan
- Lung biopsy
AFB smear of sputum Sputum culture
sputum Gram stain Thoracentesiswith culture
- Tissue culture
- Tissue and fluid analysis
The goal of treatment is to cure the infection. However, many patients take a long time to get better. To be cured, you may need to receive penicillin through a vein (intravenously) for 4 – 6 weeks, followed by several months of penicillin by mouth. Some people need up to 18 months of treatment.
If you cannot take penicillin, other antibiotics are available. These include tetracyclines, macrolides, or erythromycin.
Surgery may be needed to drain fluid from the lungs and control the infection.
Most people get better after treatment with antibiotics.
- Destruction of parts of the lungs
Emphysema Meningitis Osteomyelitis(bone infection)
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if:
- You have symptoms of pulmonary actinomycosis
- Your symptoms get worse or do not improve with treatment
- You develop new symptoms