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Ballingall's disease

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Mycetomia occurring in Africa and America. It is an infectious, but not contagious, fungal disease usually localized in the foot, but also occurs on other exposed parts of the body, such as the legs and back. The infection, which may remain latent for a time, forms small, subcutaneous swellings that enlarge, soften with pus, and break through the skin surface, with concurrent invasion of deeper tissues. Sulphonamide, iodide, and antibiotic therapy have been used against actinomycotic infections, but the fungi are more resistant to treatment. When tissue damage is extreme, the foot is usually amputated. The syndrome occurs mainly in adult males in rural areas in subtropical zones where people walk barefoot.


  • G. Ballingall:
    Practical observations on fever, dysentery, and liver complaints, as they occur amongst European troops in India; with introductory remarks on the disadvantages of selecting boys for Indian military service.
    Edinburgh, Brown & Constable, 1818.
  • Jean Hyacinthe Vincent (1862-1950):
    Étude sur le parasite du “pied de Madura”.
    Annales de l’Institut Pasteur, 1894, 8: 129-151.
    Isolation of Streptothrix (Actinomyces) madurae.

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