Could plants be the cause of your unexplained wounds?

If you find yourself with unexplained rashes or wounds, take a look around your house. How many plants do you see?

A new pathogen named Colletotrichum gleosporiodes has recently emerged as rare and potentially life threatening, and could well be the cause of your wounds. It’s currently associated with fungal infections as well as keratitis and also affects individuals who seem to have chronic wounds. It’s important to bear in mind that this infection can begin after a traumatic vaccination from plants, and it can certainly progress to being fatal.

My main piece of advice is this: keep your doctor in the loop. If your doctor thinks your wounds may have been caused by an infection, survey your house or place of work mentally and let them know if you deal with plants regularly. In addition, it is important to mention how long you have been doing so. I personally know of a case where doctors could not seem to figure out the cause of a woman’s wounds - but after asking the right questions, they realized she had tons of plants on her patio and that was responsible for her infection.

Now, even we as dermatologists are deeply aware of this. Previously, we might have only asked about elements such as pets, diet or allergies. Now, we have to inquire about your contact with plants as well. Patients should be aware that this is important for your physicians to know about in order for early treatment to begin and to avoid the rare risk of fatality.


Cutaneous Infection Caused by Plant Pathogen Colletotrichum Gloeosporioides

JAMA Dermatol 2015 Aug 19;[EPub Ahead of Print], LY Lin, CC Yang, JY Wan, TC Chang, JY Lee

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