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Actinomycosis

Definition

Actinomycosis is a bacterial infection that results in collections of pus in the body.
Abdominal Abscess
Abdominal Abscess
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Causes

Actinomycosis is most often caused by infection by specific bacteria. This is normally present in the mouth and, sometimes, in the intestines. The jaw is most commonly involved, with lung and abdominal infections being less common. Rarely, women may develop abscesses in the reproductive organs or bladder.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of actinomycosis include:

Symptoms

Actinomycosis may cause:

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Actinomycosis is treated with long-term antibiotics and by draining pus-containing abscesses.

Prevention

The best way to reduce your chances of developing actinomycosis is to prevent dental disease by practicing good dental hygiene and regularly visiting your dentist. You should:

RESOURCES

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org

Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association http://www.mouthhealthy.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Dental Association http://www.cda-adc.ca

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References

Actinomycosis. DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 20, 2011. Accessed June 10, 2015.

Hall V. Actinomyces—gathering evidence of human colonization and infection. Anaerobe. 2008;14(1):1-7.

Naik NH, Russo TA. Bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw: the role of actinomyces. Clin Infect Dis. 2009;49(11):1729-1732.

Sullivan DC, Chapman SW. Bacteria that masquerade as fungi: actinomycosis/nocardia. Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2010;7(3):216-221.

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