Pythium insidiosum: an overview

Vet Microbiol. 2010 Nov 20;146(1-2):1-16. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2010.07.019. Epub 2010 Jul 24.


Pythium insidiosum is an oomycete pathogenic in mammals. The infection occurs mainly in tropical and subtropical areas, particularly in horses, dogs and humans. Infection is acquired through small wounds via contact with water that contains motile zoospores or other propagules (zoospores or hyphae). The disease, though described as emerging has in fact already been described since 1884. Depending on the site of entry, infection can lead to different forms of pythiosis i.e. a cutaneous, vascular, ocular, gastrointestinal and a systemic form, which is rarely seen. The infection is not contagious; no animal-animal or animal-human transmission has been reported so far. Therapy includes radical surgery, antifungal drugs, immunotherapy or a combination of these therapies. The prevention to contract the disease in endemic areas is difficult. Avoiding stagnant waters could be of help, although the presence of P. insidiosum on grass and soil in enzootic areas renders this practice useless.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Zoo / microbiology
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cats / microbiology
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / microbiology
  • Dog Diseases / microbiology
  • Dogs / microbiology
  • Horse Diseases / microbiology
  • Horses / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Phylogeny
  • Pythiosis / drug therapy
  • Pythiosis / etiology
  • Pythiosis / microbiology
  • Pythiosis / pathology
  • Pythiosis / veterinary*
  • Pythium* / drug effects
  • Pythium* / genetics
  • Rabbits
  • Sheep / microbiology
  • Sheep Diseases / microbiology


  • Antifungal Agents