BMJ 2011: 343: 753 – 802 (15th Oct)

I’d heard of actinomyces, of course, because of them showing up on smears from time to time and causing quick shuffles through Google for whatever the hell the guidelines were, but I never really knew anything else about them.  They are, apparently, normal commensals which become pathogenic if the mucosa is breached and can cause actinomycosis, which is a chronic inflammatory tissue disease, typically with masses that enlarge across tissue planes and the formation of sinus tracts that can spontaneously heal and recur.  It’s rare, difficult to diagnose, and should be considered in all cases of indolent, unresolving, or relapsing chronic inflammatory disease.  Probably one for House.

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About Dr Sarah

I'm a GP with a husband and two young children.
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