The disease caused by Actinomycetes spp. is called Actinomycosis, resulting from early observations that described filaments resembling mycelia of fungi. Nonetheless, the term Actinomycosis holds firm today.
The disease is considered rare, occurring in both immune-competent and immune-incompetent individuals. Lesions occur in the oral and cervical areas and on the skin. In addition, large tumors have been described in the lungs, abdomen and other sites of the body.
The genus, Actinomyces, contains 23 species.
Actinomycosis is persistent and is a subacute cellulitic invasion of soft tissues that causes external sinus tracts that discharge sulfur granules. The illness is usually caused by Mycobacterium israelii, however, other species have been isolated from lesions in various parts of the body.
These organisms are found in soil, fresh and salt water, and as flora on plants, animals and humans. Many species are opportunistic pathogens.
The thermoactinomyces is usually the causative agent of farmer’s lung disease and bagassosis.