Indian Dermatology Online Journal

: 2021  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 307--311

Basidiobolomycosis: Case report and literature overview

Mitanjali Sethy, Satyajit Sahu, Suvigya Sachan 
 Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Correspondence Address:
Mitanjali Sethy
Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Bhubaneswar - 751 024, Odisha


Basidiobolomycosis or subcutaneous zygomycosis or subcutaneous phycomycosis is a chronic granulomatous infection of skin and subcutaneous tissue, caused by a saprophytic filamentous fungus, Basidiobolus ranarum, clinically characterized by firm, painless subcutaneous swelling with smooth and rounded edges. Histopathological features include the peculiar Splendore–Hoeppli phenomenon. Culture on Sabouraud dextrose agar shows creamy white, heaped up, and furrowed colonies. This entity has been reported from tropical and subtropical regions of the world and the southern part of India. We report a case of Basidiobolomycosis in a seven-year-old girl from Eastern India, which was excised twice before presenting to us. We diagnosed the case as Basidiobolomycosis based on clinical features, histopathology, and culture findings, and treated it with itraconazole.

How to cite this article:
Sethy M, Sahu S, Sachan S. Basidiobolomycosis: Case report and literature overview.Indian Dermatol Online J 2021;12:307-311

How to cite this URL:
Sethy M, Sahu S, Sachan S. Basidiobolomycosis: Case report and literature overview. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jan 17 ];12:307-311
Available from:

Full Text


Zygomycosis designates a group of infections caused by fungi belonging to the class Zygomycota which includes two fungal orders, Mucorales and Entomophthorales. Mucormycosis is usually caused by Mucorales in immunocompromised patients, while Entomophthorales, a group of saprophytic fungi, affect immune-competent individuals causing entomophthoromycosis.[1]

Entomophthoromycosis is an uncommon sporadic, slowly progressive, and chronic subcutaneous infection that includes two distinct clinical forms, i.e., subcutaneous zygomycosis, caused by Basidiobolus ranarum and rhinofacial zygomycosis caused by Conidiobolus coronatus.[2]

Subcutaneous zygomycosis or subcutaneous phycomycosis or basidiobolomycosis is a chronic granulomatous infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissue in immunocompetent individuals, mainly restricted to tropical and subtropical countries with occasional reports from India.[1] We report a case of basidiobolomycosis diagnosed based on clinical features, histopathology, and culture findings. Our case highlights the importance of considering basidiobolomycosis early when immune-competent children present with unusual, painless, subcutaneous lesion, especially over the extremities.

 Case Report

A seven-year-old girl child was brought to us with a painless swelling over the left knee joint since six months. Before presenting to us, she was treated by three physicians of different specialties. Initially, the lesion started as a small hard painless raised lesion over the dorsum of the left knee and gradually increased in size. The lesion was preceded by trauma at the site two months prior to onset. Parents consulted an orthopedic surgeon and the lesion was excised. After 1 month, a similar lesion again developed on the lower part of the anterolateral aspect of thigh just above the left knee. She was seen by a plastic surgeon and the lesion was excised and antibiotics were prescribed. The histopathology report of that time suggested nonspecific dermatitis. Two months later, similar painless swelling reappeared at the same site (dorsum of left knee) associated with fever and she was taken to a pediatrician. After one month of treatment, when no improvement was observed, the child was referred to us. On examination, an erythematous, ill-defined, nontender, and indurated swelling with smooth and rounded edges of size 5 cm × 4 cm with crusting over the surface was noted on the dorsum of the left knee joint [Figure 1]. The swelling was freely mobile and was not attached to the underlying structures. The lesion could be lifted up easily by inserting a finger beneath. The overlying skin was erythematous with one linear hypopigmented scar of length 4 cm on the left knee and one transverse scar of length 2 cm was found just above the left knee. There was no regional or peripheral lymphadenopathy. General and systemic examination revealed no abnormality. We considered a differential diagnosis of subcutaneous zygomycosis, lupus vulgaris, and soft tissue tumor. Routine hematological and biochemical investigations were normal, chest X-ray showed no abnormality, and Mantoux test was negative. Incisional skin biopsy specimen was sent for histopathological examination and fungal culture. Histopathology revealed inflammatory granulomatous reaction with dense and diffuse eosinophilic infiltrate and few multinucleated giant cells. The central portion showed fragments of broad, aseptate hyphae with peculiar eosinophilic material around the hyphae (Splendore–Hoeppli phenomenon) [Figure 2]. Periodic acid Schiff [Figure 3] and Gomori methenamine silver stain [Figure 4] showed thin-walled, broad, and aseptate fungal hyphae. Fungal culture on Sabouraud dextrose agar at 30°C after three days of incubation showed creamy white, heaped up, and furrowed colonies which identified the fungus as Basidiobolus ranarum [Figure 5]. The child was started on antifungal therapy with itraconazole at a dose of 4 mg/kg (100 mg/day) for 12 weeks. The lesion healed completely after two months of treatment [Figure 6]. However, she was advised to continue the treatment for 12 weeks. The treatment period was uneventful. She was followed up for six months and there was no recurrence.{Figure 1}{Figure 2}{Figure 3}{Figure 4}{Figure 5}{Figure 6}


Entomophthoromycosis in humans caused by Basidiobolus ranarum was first described in Indonesia in 1956.[3]

B. ranarum is a saprophytic fungus present in soil, decaying fruit and vegetable matter, and the gut of amphibians, reptiles, bats, and fish. The mode of infection is exactly not known but it is assumed that transmission may occur by implantation of spores of the organism via minor trauma such as insect bites, thorn prick, or by inhalation of spores which often goes unnoticed.[1] It can cause a variety of clinical manifestations including subcutaneous zygomycosis, gastrointestinal zygomycosis, and occasionally an acute systemic illness.[4]

Although the organism is found worldwide, the disease is prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Few cases of Basidiobolomycosis have been reported from the southern part of India.[5],[6],[7] A summary of the published case reports of basidiobolomycosis from India has been elaborated in [Table 1].{Table 1}

Basidiobolomycosis more commonly occurs in children, less often in adolescents, and rarely in adults. Males are more commonly affected than females.[1] Clinically, it manifests as a well-circumscribed firm, nontender, subcutaneous swelling on extremities (leg, thigh, buttock, shoulder, and upper arm)[8] or trunk, which if untreated may spread locally circumferentially or proximally and distally but systemic dissemination is extremely uncommon. The lesion is usually freely mobile and not attached to underlying fascia or muscle. The swelling may be lobulated, edges are smooth, rounded, and fingers can be easily insinuated under the swelling, virtually lifting it up. The overlying skin may be normal, erythematous, edematous, or hyperpigmented, but ulceration is rare.[1],[8] Lymph nodes are usually not involved. The underlying bone is rarely involved. Absence of systemic signs is a characteristic clinical feature.[1],[3],[8] Though it is a benign entity, rarely it may cause severe morbidity extending to neck, trunk, and rectum.[1]

This clinical entity may resemble other deep fungal infections like mycetoma and sporotrichosis, lupus vulagaris, soft tissue tumor, Burkitt's lymphoma, synovial sarcoma, and fibrosing panniculitis.

Although the clinical appearance of the lesions of Basidiobolomycosis is very suggestive, histopathology and culture can only make a definitive diagnosis. The typical histopathological feature is the presence of thin-walled, broad, aseptate hyphae surrounded by brightly eosinophilic material with a background of dense eosinophilic infiltrate, known as “Splendore–Hoeppli” phenomenon. Culture on Sabouraud dextrose agar at 25°C–30°C after three days of incubation shows creamy brown, furrowed, heaped up, and radially folded colonies. Lactophenol cotton blue wet mount shows large, broad vegetative hyphae, and thick-walled zygospores with beak-like appendages characteristic of Basidiobolus.[3],[5] The hyphae usually stain positive with Gomori methenamine silver, Masson's trichrome, and PAS stain.[9] In addition to culture, the causative agent, Basidiobolus ranarum may be diagnosed in an immunodiffusion test by detecting immune response against the agent.[10]

Treatment of Basidiobolomycosis is not always successful. Potassium iodide (KI) and itraconazole are commonly used for treatment. Other drugs like trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, amphotericin B, oral azoles like ketoconazole, 400 mg per day have been used.[5],[11] KI at a dose of 30 mg/kg/day as a single daily dose or divided into three doses has been used. Itraconazole at a dose of 100–200 mg daily has been tried. Approximately, 6–12 months of treatment is usually needed with itraconazole.[12] In the present case also, the patient responded very well to itraconazole and the swelling completely resolved after two months of treatment. The role of surgical resection is controversial and surgery may hasten the spread of infection according to Prasad et al.[8]


This case report highlights the importance of high index of suspicion required to diagnose the condition in nonendemic areas and early diagnosis of this clinical entity to prevent unnecessary surgical intervention, disfigurement produced by advanced disease, and unnecessary psychological trauma to the patient.[23]

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Gugnani HC. A review of zygomycosis due to Basidiobolus ranarum. Eur J Epidemiol 1999;15:923-9.
2Prabhu RM, Patel R. Mucormycosis and entomophthoramycosis: A review of the clinical manifestations, diagnosis and treatment. Clin Microbiol Infect 2004;10:31-47.
3Burkitt DP, Wilson AMM, Jelliffe DB. Subcutaneous phycomycosis: A review of 31 cases seen in Uganda. Br Med J 1964;1:1669-73.
4Naniwadekar MR, Jagtap SV, Nikam BP, Sanghavi KD. Subcutaneous phycomycosis in a child. Online J Heal Allied Scs 2009;8:14.
5Sujatha S, Sheeladevi C, Khyriem AB, Parija SC, Thappa DM. Subcutaneous zygomycosis caused by Basidiobolus ranarum-a case report. Indian J Med Microbiol 2003;21:205-6.
6Hema P, Kumari P, Srinivasarao M, Subbarayudu S, Saritha Y, Kar A. Case report a case study on subcutaneous zygomycosis with ulcer. Int J Curr Microbiol App Sci 2013;2:448-51.
7Chokka K, Reddy S, Rayi N, Pullela R. Entomophthoromycosis of face. Indian J Pathol Microbiol 2010;53:570.
8Prasad PVS, Paul EK, George RV, Ambujam S, Viswanthan P. Subcutaneous phycomycosis in a child. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2002;68:303-4.
9Chandrasekhar HR, Shashikala PN, Haravi RN, Kadam RS. Subcutaneous phycomycosis. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1998;64:89-90.
10Nemenqani D, Yaqoob N, Khoja H, Al Saif O, Amra NK, Amr SS. Gastrointestinal basidiobolomycosis: An unusual fungal infection mimicking colon cancer. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2009;133:1938-42.
11Roy AK, Sarkar Jyotirindra Nath MPK. Subcutaneous zygomycosis treated with ketoconazole. Indian J Dermatol 2000;45:22-3.
12Thotan SP, Kumar V, Gupta A, Mallya A, Rao S. Subcutaneous phycomycosis-fungal infection mimicking a soft tissue tumor: A case report and review of literature. J Trop Pediatr 2010;56:65-6.
13Sethuraman G, Kuruvilla S, Joseph L. Subcutaneous zygomycosis basidiobolomycosis. Indian J Dermatol 2001;46:242.
14Anand M, Deshmukh SD, Pande DP, Naik S, Ghadage DP. Subcutaneous zygomycosis due to basidiobolus ranarum: A case report from Maharastra, India. J Trop Med. doi: 10.1155/2010/950390.
15Verma RK, Shivaprakash MR, Shanker A, Panda NK. Subcutaneous zygomycosis of the cervicotemporal region: Due to Basidiobolus ranaram. Med Mycol Case Rep 2012;1:59-62.
16Jayanth ST, Gaikwad P, Promila M, Muthusami JC. The sinus that breeds fungus: Subcutaneous zygomycosis caused by basidiobolus ranarum at the injection site. Case Rep Infect Dis 2013;2013:1-2. doi: 10.1155/2013/534192.
17Anaparthy U, Deepika G. A case of subcutaneous zygomycosis. Indian Dermatol Online J 2014;5:51.
18Saha A, Seth J, Mukherjee S, Mondal A. Subcutaneous zygomycosis: A report of one case responding excellently to potassium iodide. Indian J Dermatol 2015;60:500-2.
19Arora P, Sardana K, Bansal S, Garg V, Rao S. Entomophthoromycosis (basidiobolomycosis) presenting with “saxophone” penis and responding to potassium iodide. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2015;81:616-8.
20Chintagunta S, Arakkal G, Damarla S, Kumar VA. Subcutaneous phycomycosis presenting with multiple swellings. Indian J Paediatr Dermatol 2016;17:58-61.
21Rajan RJ, Mohanraj P, Rose W. Subcutaneous basidiobolomycosis resembling fournier's gangrene. J Trop Pediatr 2017;63:217-20.
22Nalini P, Vellaisamy S, Manickam N, Gopalan K. Potassium iodide: A prodigy in the treatment of subcutaneous zygomycosis. Indian J Drugs Dermatol 2019;5:59-62.
23Patro P, Das P, Sachdev D, Borkar N, Ganguly S, Hussain N. An instance of excellent response of subcutaneous zygomycosis to itraconazole monotherapy. Med Mycol Case Rep 2019;24:13-7.