SINGAPORE: Of all the tools to pop a pimple, the woodworking blade that a 23-year-old construction worker in the US used to snip one off his lower lip proved to be a bad choice.
As reported last month in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, the man developed a rare fungal infection caused by the spores of the fungus Blastomyces.
The man had endured the infection for seven months before seeking treatment at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago. By then, the entire bottom edge of his lower lip had a raised area of blood-encrusted skin with warty lesions and a rolled, hardened border, according to the case report.
Blastomyces is typically found in moist soil and in decomposing wood or leaves, said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People typically become infected by inhaling the spores, which can lead to a lung infection called primary pulmonary blastomycosis. Pets such as dogs can also get blastomycosis.
The man was diagnosed with primary cutaneous blastomycosis, which is when a cut, animal bite or scratch transfers Blastomyces into the body, causing an infection. This rare form of fungal infection is seen in fewer than 50 reported cases in the medical literature, according to the case report.
Primary cutaneous blastomycosis has been seen in dog handlers, who may contract the infection from animal bites and scratches that expose the skin to the fungus. Fortunately, the infection tends to stay on the skin and not spread to other organs.
The man in the case study was given an antifungal medication to treat the infection, and his skin cleared up considerably after two weeks of taking the drug, according to the report.