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Nocardia Infection

Basics

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Definition

Nocardia infection is a rare disorder affecting the lungs, brain, or skin. It occurs mainly in people with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms

Symptoms vary and depend on the organs involved.

  • Lungs (pulmonary nocardiosis):
    • Chest pain when breathing (may occur suddenly or slowly)
    • Coughing up blood
    • Fevers
    • Night sweats
    • Weight loss
  • Brain (cerebral nocardiosis):
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Loss of neurological function (depending on the part of the brain affected)
  • Skin:
    • May become chronically infected (mycetoma) and develop draining tracts
    • Ulcers or nodules with infection sometimes spreading along lymph nodes

Some people with nocardia infection have no symptoms.

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