Rose thorn disease is an occupational disease of gardeners and forestry workers. However, people who plant roses in their garden to enjoy the fragrance and beauty may also fall victim to rose thorn disease. It’s scientific name is sporotrichosis. As the name suggests, it is a disease caused by fungus that resides on the tip of rose thorns. The fungus responsible for it is called sporothrix shenkii.
Besides thorns, the fungus is also found on hay and sphagnum mosses. The spores of fungus enter through the skin at the punctured site. It gives rise to suppuration, redness, swelling and open ulcers at the punctured site.
Because the disease is not common, often it is misdiagnosed. It is only after the primary antibiotics fail to cure ulcer and suppuration, physician may look outside the box.
Symptoms Of Rose Thorn Disease
The symptoms arising from rose thorn disease and its causative organism sporothrix shenkii can be divided into cutaneous and pulmonary type.
Skin lesions: The symptoms may appear a week or a month after the exposure of fungus. A bump or a nodule may appear on the skin surface as a first symptom. The nodule may be pink or purple. Mostly there is no associated pain. After a period of time, the nodule may break open and form an open ulcer. It may drain clear fluid. Mostly cutaneous lesions are seen on fingers, hands and arm.
Pulmonary lesions: Pulmonary lesions of sporotrichosis are rare. It occurs when the spores of fungus are inhaled. It is usually a localized disease without any constitutional symptoms. Chronic and productive cough, nodules and cavity formation in the lung with inflamed pulmonary lymph nodes are the radiological features. Patient is susceptible to develop tuberculosis and pneumonia.
The third variety is disseminated form. It involves bone and joints and central nervous system. It prominently occurs in malnourished and immunity compromised people. Loss of weight, loss of appetite and bony lesions are its manifestations.
Treatment Of Rose Thorn Infection
Diagnosis of rose thorn disease is often a confusing task for the physician. This is because the disease is rare and its symptoms are similar to that of any streptococcal or staphylococcal skin infection. A specific skin test is proved to pinpoint rose thorn disease.
Once the condition is detected, treatment begins with saturated solution of potassium iodide. The medicine is often given for three to six months. It is combined with anti fungal medications. Both are taken for many months. In certain stubborn cases, intravenous anti-fungal medications may be needed.
Though not substantially proved, alternative ways to treat fungal disease may be of some use. These include application of tea tree oil, oil of oregano. They may be effective in open lesions found on the skin. In addition, oregano oil can also be consumed.
The best way is to prevent the disease and it is not difficult. When working in a garden and farming land, it is necessary to wear protective gear. This may include long sleeves and pants as well as gloves.