Actinomycosis is a bacterial infection that results in collections of pus in the body.
Actinomycosis is most often caused by infection by specific bacteria. This is normally present in the mouth, and sometimes in the intestines. The jaw is most commonly involved, with lung and abdominal infections being less common. Rarely, women may develop abscesses in the reproductive organs or bladder.
Factors that may increase your risk of actinomycosis include:
Actinomycosis may cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Actinomycosis is treated with long-term antibiotics and by draining pus-containing abscesses.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association
Canadian Dental Association
Cervicofacial actinomycosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116458/Cervicofacial-actinomycosis. Updated October 20, 2011. Accessed September 27, 2016.
Hall V. Actinomyces—gathering evidence of human colonization and infection. Anaerobe. 2008;14(1):1-7.
Naik NH, Russo TA. Bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw: the role of actinomyces. Clin Infect Dis. 2009;49(11):1729-1732.
Sullivan DC, Chapman SW. Bacteria that masquerade as fungi: actinomycosis/nocardia. Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2010;7(3):216-221.
Last reviewed May 2016 by David Horn, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.