Actinomycosis: diagnosis and management

South Med J. 2008 Oct;101(10):1019-23. doi: 10.1097/SMJ.0b013e3181864c1f.


Actinomycosis is an uncommon, chronic bacterial infection that induces both suppurative and granulomatous inflammation. Localized swelling with suppuration, abscess formation, tissue fibrosis, and sinus drainage characterizes this disease. The infection spreads contiguously, often forming draining sinuses that extrude characteristic but not pathognomonic "sulfur granules." Infections of the oral and cervicofacial regions are most common; however, any site in the body can be infected and it often mimics malignancy. Other regions that are often affected are the thoracic and abdominopelvic, as well as the central nervous system. Musculoskeletal and disseminated disease can also be seen, albeit rarely. Prolonged antimicrobial therapy with penicillin has typically been recommended for patients with all clinical forms of actinomycosis to prevent disease recrudescence.

MeSH terms

  • Actinomycosis / diagnosis*
  • Actinomycosis / drug therapy*
  • Actinomycosis / physiopathology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Humans
  • Penicillin G / administration & dosage*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Penicillin G