Rhinocerebral mucormycosis is a severe and potentially fatal fungal infection. This fungus typically affects people whose immune system is weakened by disease, such as uncontrolled diabetes, and/or AIDS. It is rarely found in someone with normal immune status. The symptoms of rhinocerebral mucormycosis include pain,
fever, and an infection of the eye socket with a bulging of the affected eye. Pus is discharged from the nose. The roof of the mouth, the facial bones surrounding the eye socket or sinuses, or the nasal septum may be destroyed by the infection. Infection in the brain may cause seizures, partial paralysis, and coma. Because the symptoms of mucormycosis can resemble those of other severe bacterial infections, a doctor may not be able to diagnose it immediately. Usually the diagnosis is made when a doctor sees the organism in tissue
samples. This is yet another reason why all immunocompromised patients should see an otolaryngologist who specializes in sinus problems as a part of their treatment team.
A person with mucormycosis is generally treated with intravenous antibiotics when there is a bacterial superinfection and with antifungal agents, like amphotericin B, given intravenously and/or injected directly into the spinal fluid. If tissue itself is infected, it needs to be removed by surgery.