Volume 27, Number 9—September 2021
Paracoccidioides [p′a ɾə kok-sidʺe-oiʹ d′ez]
From the Greek (para/παρά + kokkis [coccidia]), Adolpho Lutz (Figure 1) described Paracoccidioides in 1908. After analysis of oral and cervical lymph node lesions from infected patients, Lutz initially believed that he had detected Coccidioides. However, more extensive analysis showed that he had detected another fungus. Because of morphologic and clinical disease similarities, the name Paracoccidioides was suggested. The prefix para (near) indicates its similarity with Coccidioides.
Paracoccidioides is a thermally dimorphic fungus (Figure 2). It grows as an infective mycelium form (at 18°C–23°C) or a parasitic multibudding yeast form (at 35°C–37°C). It is composed of 2 species: P. brasiliensis and P. lutzi. They are the etiologic agents of paracoccidioidomycosis. This systemic infection is endemic to Latin America (southern Mexico to northern Argentina). The highest number of cases are found in Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela. Paracoccidioides conidia and mycelia are found in soil and transmitted by inhalation.
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Original Publication Date: August 19, 2021