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Dermatology Online Journal

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Cervicofacial actinomycosis: a unique diagnostic challenge


Actinomycosis is a rare, chronic bacterial infection caused by Actinomcyes israelii. This anaerobic filamentous gram-positive bacterium frequently colonizes the human mouth, digestive, and genital tracts. Cervicofacial actinomycosis infections have a proclivity for affecting the upper and lower mandibles and occur in 50% of cases. Most cases present in immunocompetent individuals and almost always involve some degree of pre-existing mucosal trauma through either recent dental procedures or poor dental hygiene. Herein, we present a 54-year-old man diagnosed with cervicofacial actinomyces infection in the absence of periodontal disease or recent dental procedures. The purpose of this testimony is to discuss the pathogenesis and clinical and histologic findings of actinomycosis. In addition, we review diagnostic techniques and the current breadth of treatment options. It is our hope that this manuscript will serve as a guide for physicians of all specialties in accurately recognizing and promptly treating actinomycosis.

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