Nocardiosis is a condition caused by bacteria found in standing water or soil. It begins in your lungs or skin, and if it enters your circulation and spreads to other areas of your body, it may cause significant issues.


There are two types of nocardiosis:

  • Pulmonary (lung) 
  • Primary cutaneous (skin)


Depending on which type you have, the indicators for nocardiosis may vary. The most common type is pulmonary nocardiosis, which has symptoms that are similar to those of pneumonia or tuberculosis:

  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Breathing difficulties

Skin abscesses on your hands, chest, or back are the most prevalent indications of main cutaneous nocardiosis. These are lumps on or under the skin’s surface generally filled with fluid (pus). You might potentially develop a fever.

If left untreated, the infection may spread to your brain or your kidneys, intestines, or other organs less often via your circulation. It has the potential to be quite dangerous. The following are signs that your illness has moved to your brain:

  • Unbearable headaches
  • Motor skills issues, such as balance coordination
  • Intolerance of loud noises or bright lights

If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor as soon as possible.


It can be difficult to distinguish pulmonary nocardiosis from pneumonia or tuberculosis. Besides, primary cutaneous nocardiosis resembles several other, more prevalent skin illnesses.

Your doctor will most likely extract a small sample of tissue or fluid from the affected region to find out for sure. This could include tissue or mucous from your lungs or skin tissue.

If the infection is in your lungs, you may need the following treatment:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Ct-scan


Antibiotics can usually cure nocardiosis. However, not all of them are effective against bacteria. To figure out which ones will work best for you, your doctor may need to do specific lab tests. Depending on how serious your illness is, you may need to take them for 6 weeks to a year.

In some circumstances, surgery may be required to drain or remove abscesses in infected areas.

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