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Pulmonary nocardiosis

Definition

Pulmonary nocardiosis is an infection of the lung with the bacteria, .

Alternative Names

Nocardiosis - pulmonary

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Nocardia infection develops when you breathe in (inhale) the bacteria. The infection causes pneumonia -like symptoms. The infection can spread to any part of the body.

People at highest risk for nocardia infection are those with a weakened immune system. This includes people who have:

  • Been taking steroids or other medicines that weaken the immune system for a long time
  • Cushing disease
  • Had an organ transplant
  • HIV
  • Lymphoma

Other people at risk include those with chronic lung problems related to smoking, emphysema, or other infections such as tuberculosis .

Symptoms

  • Entire body
  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Lungs and airways
  • Muscles and joints
  • Nervous system
  • Skin

Signs and tests

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to control the infection. Antibiotics are used, but it may take a while to get better. You must keep taking the medications for at least 3 months.

Surgery may be needed to remove or drain infected areas.

Your health care provider may tell you to stop taking any medicines that weaken your immune system. Never stop taking any medicine before talking to your health provider first.

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

The outcome is often good when diagnosed and treated quickly.,

The outcome is poor when the infection spreads outside the lung, treatment is delayed, or the patient has serious underlying diseases.

Complications

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this disorder. Early diagnosis and treatment may improve the chance of a good outcome.

Prevention

Be careful when using corticosteroids. Use these drugs sparingly, in the lowest effective doses and for the shortest periods of time possible.

Some patients with an impaired immune system may need to take antibiotics for long periods of time to prevent the infection from returning.

References

Torres A. Pyogenic bacterial pneumonia and lung abscess. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus CV, Martin TR, et al. . 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 32.

Limper AH. Overview of pneumonia. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. . 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 97.

Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.