Actinomycosis (Encyclopedia of Medicine)
Actinomycosis is an infection primarily caused by the bacterium Actinomyces israelii. Infection most often occurs in the face and neck region and is characterized by the presence of a slowly enlarging, hard, red lump.
Actinomycosis is a relatively rare infection occurring in one out of 300,000 (1/300,000) people per year. It is characterized by the presence of a lump or mass that often forms, draining sinus tracts to the skin surface. Fifty percent of actinomycosis cases are of the head and neck region (also called "lumpy jaw" and "cervicofacial actinomycosis"), 15% are in the chest, 20% are in the abdomen, and the rest are in the pelvis, heart, and brain. Men are three times more likely to develop actinomycosis than women.
Causes and symptoms
Actinomycosis is usually caused by the bacterium Actinomyces israelii. This bacterium is normally present in the mouth but can cause disease if it enters tissues following an injury. Actinomyces israelii is an anaerobic bacterium which means it dislikes oxygen but grows very well in deep tissues where oxygen levels are low. Tooth extraction, tooth disease, root canal treatment,jaw surgery, or poor dental hygiene can allow Actinomyces israelii to cause an infection in the head and...
(The entire section is 618 words.)
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