(redirected from actinomycotic)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.


actinomycosis (ăkˌtənōmīkōˈsĭs), chronic suppurative infection that occurs around the face and neck. The disease is characterized by the formation of abscesses, or pus-filled cavities, below the surface of the skin. These abscesses spread rapidly and form channels that discharge a yellow granular pus on the surface of the skin. In humans these granules consist of Actinomyces israelii, a bacterium that used to be considered a fungus. Actinomycosis also sometimes affects the lungs, appendix, or the pelvic region, especially in women with certain kinds of intrauterine devices. Treatment consists of prolonged therapy with massive doses of penicillin and drainage by surgery. Actinomycosis also occurs in horses, cattle, swine, and dogs; it resembles human actinomycosis, but is caused by various other species of Actinomyces.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a chronic infectious disease of both humans and animals (cattle, and less frequently swine, sheep, goats, and horses), produced by anaerobic and aerobic ray fungi (the actinomycetes). The disease is distributed universally.

Human actinomycosis. Human actinomycosis comprises 6–8 percent of all chronic suppurative processes. The disease was first described by the German surgeon B. Langen beck in 1845. Ray fungi inhabit the human mouth cavity and intestinal tract; they are not usually harmful, but in some circumstances they become pathogenic. The principal infection route is the gastrointestinal tract, but the infecting fungi are airborne in some instances. Ray fungi which have entered tissue are surrounded by a cell barrier and a connective capsule; an actinomycoma is formed whose suppurative fusion leads to spread of the fungi into surrounding tissues. Actinomycosis is propagated within the organism either through direct contact or by way of the lymphatic system and blood stream. The disease follows an undulant course, with periodic fever and pains. It appears with the development of dense, elastic abscesses which become inflamed and suppurative and must be lanced; this in turn produces fistulas, accompanied by the discharge of bloody pus. Actinomycosis may affect any organ or tissue. Complications include contracture of the mastication muscles as a result of scar formation, contraction of the intestine and urinary tract, development of bronchiectasis and cystic cavities in the lungs, and pathological crises. The treatment may consist of actinolysate, actinomycetic polyvalent vaccine, antibiotics, sulfanilamide preparations, blood transfusions, and surgical intervention. Careful oral hygiene is the prophylaxis.


Animal actinomycosis. Animal actinomycosis may occur at any time of the year but appears most often during indoor periods when dry coarse fodder is used or during autumn pasturage on stubble. Actinomycetes most frequently enter the body tissues of animals through breaks in the mucous membrane. The general clinical sign of actinomycosis in all animal species is the formation of an actinomycoma, usually in the region of the head. The dense tumors, firmly accreted to the skin, are lanced from the outside or through the pharyngeal cavity. The fistulas thus formed exude pus which contains drusen of the irritating agent. The treatment consists mainly of antibiotics (penicillin, oxytetracycline). Surgery is used in cases where the tumors are circumscribed and separable. For prevention of animal actinomycosis in districts in which actinomycosis is endemic, animals should not be pastured on low-lying, swampy, or moist lands. Coarse fodder (hay, straw, or chaff) should be steamed before feeding. Sick animals should be isolated. The question of using meat from animals with actinomycosis is decided by specialists on the basis of the extent to which the carcass has been affected.



Asnin, D. I. Immunodiagnostika aktinomikoza. Moscow, 1956.
Ospovat, B. L. Aktinomikoz legkikh. Moscow, 1963.
Suteev, G. O. Aktinomikoz. Moscow, 1951.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


An infectious bacterial disease caused by Actinomyces bovis in cattle, hogs, and occasionally in humans. Also known as lumpy jaw.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Definitive Presumptive Definitive Previous use diagnosis diagnosis method of of IUD diagnosis Actinomycotic Sigmoid colon Histopa- Yes (1 year) abscesses cancer and thological Type: ND ** (sulphur tumour in report granules) left ovary MSA * Crohn's Histopa- Yes (14 years) disease or thological Type: ND ovarian report of cancer or the ovary pelvic abscess associated with the IUD MSA Tumour in the Histopa- ND appendix thological report Pelvic ND Sonography- Yes(4 years) actinomycosis guided Type: multiload (A.
Cytological features of mandibular actinomycotic osteomyelitis in a cow.
Due to the opportunistic characteristics of the actinomycotic infection, early and adequate differential diagnosis prior to therapeutic attempts, as well as management steps are of great importance in the oral cavity to prevent the spread of the disease.
Histology identified actinomycotic organisms that were associated with an abscess (figure 2).
(9,24) Melgarejo Moreno et al (19) described the case of a woman with diabetes who presented with a 2-month history of hoarseness and cough, and Fernandez (24) reported the case of a 30-year-old woman with an actinomycotic lesion of the vocal fold and secondary pulmonary actinomycosis.
"Mycotic, actinomycotic, and algal infections." In: Anderson's Pathology, 9th edition.
Percentage of cases Chronic nonspecific cervicitis 154 25.5% Chronic cervicitis with nebothian cyst 15 2.4% Chronic cervicitis with squamous metaplasia 2 0.33% Chronic cervicitis with koilocytic change 14 2.3% Chronic endocervicitis 87 14.42% TB cervicitis 4 0.66% Actinomycotic endocervicitis 1 0.16% Squamous intraepithelial lesion: 34 5.6% Low grade SIL 18 2.9% High grade SIL 16 2.6% Endocervical Polyp 25 4.1% Leiomyoma of cervix 9 1.4% Squamous cell Carcinoms: 268 44.4% Large cell keratinizing 2 0.33% Large cell nonkeratinising 223 36.9% Small cell carcinoma 40 6.6% Adeno carcinoma 2 0.33% Adeno squamous carcinoma 1 0.16% DISCUSSION: In the present study majority of uterine cervical lesions were neoplastic (44.4%), followed by non-neoplastic lesions.
A case of Actinomycotic mycetoma involving the right foot.
Local mucosal injury causes actinomycotic infection of the lactiferous ducts.
Studies have demonstrated presence of companion bacteria in actinomycotic lesions which act as co-pathogens and lowers oxygen tension at tissue level for Actinomyces sp.
Hence the identification of the causative agent and differentiation of eumycotic mycetoma from actinomycotic mycetoma constitute the major points in application of appropriate antimicrobial therapy.
Gulati, A case of Actinomycotic mycetoma involving the right foot, case report.