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Toenail Fungus: Fusarium Infection

Updated on May 1, 2012

Fungal Infection

Have you ever suffered from a toenail fungus or some other fungal infection? Have you ever heard of fusarium? If so, it was probably related to your garden, especially in the context of lettuces and tomato plants. Fusarium wilt is a common problem seen in tomato plants and lettuce plants that causes the leaves to turn yellow, and then brown. Afterwards, the leaves wilt and the plant might eventually die. Even worse, the fusarium can spread from one plant to another. Fusarium has also been seen in watermelons, potatoes, sugar cane, cowpeas, soybeans, rice, wheat, asparagus, and bananas. It’s sometimes seen in flowering plants, too, like zinnias, baby’s breath, and pansies. What you might not know about the fusarium fungus is that it can also affect humans, sometimes with a pretty nasty fungal infection.

The type of fusarium fungus that affects the plants already discussed is Fusarium oxysporum. This very fungus, along with Fusarium verticillioides, Fusarium solani, and Fusarium proliferatum, can cause serious illnesses in humans and animals. In many cases, the fusarium fungus causes death.

What is Fusarium?

Fusarium is a form of fungus. The genus fusarium is a type of filamentous fungi that lives in the soil and is also present in air. Most are harmless to man, but when some of the fungi – like the ones mentioned above – become part of the food chain or attack a host with a compromised immune system, they can be devastating to both animals and people. A serious fungal infection is nothing to take lightly.

The most likely fusarium fungus to cause infections in humans is Fusarium solani. In fact, it’s associated with about half of the fusarium fungal infections in people. Fusarium verticillioides causes around 20% of the fusarium fungal infections in humans, and Fusarium oxysporum is responsible for another 20% of human fungal infections. Most of the remainder of fusarium fungal infections in humans is caused by Fusarium proliferatum.

How Do People Get a Fusarium Infection?

Humans get a fusarium infection from coming in contact with the fusarium fungus. Unfortunately, the fusarium fungus is widespread and can be almost anywhere. A fusarium fungal infection is much more likely in those with weak immune systems. These patients lack the “fighter” cells to defend the body against the fusarium fungus.

At special risk for fusarium fugal infections are patients with hematologic malignancies, with neutropenia, and those who have undergone an organ or bone marrow transplant. Burn patients or anyone else with major tissue trauma are also at a higher risk for fusarium fungal infections.

Another way that humans can get fusarium fungal infection is by consuming foods that have been infected with the fusarium fungus. Some seventy years ago, wheat infected with fusarium fungus was used in the Soviet Union to make bread. As a result, thousands of people were infected with a fusarium fungal infection called alimentary toxic aleukia. The initial symptoms of the infection included fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Within days, the victims suffered from bloody diarrhea, bloody urine, vaginal bleeding, tarry stools, and ulcers of the larynx and stomach. Six out of every ten victims died.

Fusarium Keratitis

A rare form of fusarium infection that has occurred recently is fusarium keratitis. Documented cases have been found in the United States, in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont. Suspected cases of fusarium keratitis have occurred in other states, including Rhode Island, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Indiana, and Mississippi.

What is Fusarium keratitis?

Keratitis is an inflammation of part of the eye. The eye part usually affected by fusarium fugal infection is the cornea – the outer layer located at the front of the eye. As with most other types of fusarium fungal infections, those with suppressed immune systems and those with any type of eye trauma are more susceptible to the fusarium fungus and are more likely to develop a fusarium infection to the eye.

Fusarium keratitis is rare, even though it is widespread. Most of the patients suffering from fusarium keratitis are contact lens wearers. According to research conducted by the Center for Disease Control, many people with confirmed cases of fusarium keratitis had used Bausch and Lomb contact lens solution on a regular basis. The specific product cited was Bausch and Lomb ReNu contact lens solution with MoistureLoc. As a result, Bausch and Lomb removed the product from shelves. Bausch and Lomb ReNu Multiplus, along with other brands of contact lens solution, have not been linked to fusarium keratitis.

Symptoms of Fusarium Keratitis

Fusarium keratitis is a painful fusarium infection. Other symptoms of fusarium keratitis might include blurred vision, a yellow discharge from the eyes, watery eyes, sensitivity to light, and eye redness.

Fusarium keratitis can be serious. In fact, about 30% of those suffering from this type of fusarium infection will require a corneal transplant. If you suspect that you might have fusarium keratitis, see your ophthalmologist immediately.

Fusarium Nail Fungus

Those with healthy immune systems without tissue trauma or disease might still be susceptible to fusarium fungal infection. In healthy individuals, the fusarium fungus generally attacks the fingernails and toenails. Fungal infections of the nails, especially toenail fungus, are very common, and not all are caused by the fusarium fungus.

As has already been mentioned, the fusarium fungus, along with other types of fungi, are everywhere. They don’t need light to survive, and once they get under the nail into the nail bed, they’re extremely difficult to treat. For healthy individuals, the fusarium fungal infections of the nails are not dangerous. They are, however, unsightly, especially when they affect the fingernails. For those with inadequate immune systems, however, a fusarium infection of the fingernails or toenails can be very serious.

Under the nail is a perfect breeding ground for the fusarium fungus and for other fungi. For one thing, it’s difficult to reach the infection because of the presence of the nail itself. Most of the prescription medications that target fusarium fungal infections of the nails have serious side effects, including liver failure, congestive heart failure, and damage to bone marrow. Many suffering from fusarium fungal infections of the nails, along with other types of fungal nail infections, have found relief from a natural product called Zetaclear.

Toenail Fungus Symptoms

Toenail fungus is more common than fingernail fungus. There are several reasons why this is the case. For one thing, the toes are usually encased in shoes ad/or socks, so they often stay damp for long periods of time. Fungi also prefer places that are warm and dark, as the toes often are. Another reason toenail fungus is more common is that the toes come in contact more often with places that harbor fungi when people walk barefoot. The toes don't have as much blood circulation as the fingers, either, so the human immune system is as efficient at fighting off toenail fungus as it is fingernail fungus.

Symptoms of fusarium fungal infections of the nails are the same as other nail infections caused by fungi. All are referred to as onychomycosis. It usually begins with a white spot near the nail tip. Over time, the nails will thicken, yellow, and become misshapen, with ragged edges.

The fungal infection can also cause the fingernail or toenail to separate from the nail bed. This is a painful condition referred to as onycholysis.

Tips for Avoiding Fusarium Fungal Infections of the Nails

It’s much better to prevent fusarium fungal infections of the nails than it is to try to treat them. Follow the guidelines below to help prevent fusarium fungal infections in the fingernails and toenails:

  • Wear shoes with adequate toe room.
  • Keep your hands and feet clean.
  • Thoroughly dry your feet and hands after washing.
  • Keep your toenails short, and cut them straight across.
  • Wear rubber shoes when bathing in public showers.
  • Don’t wear the same shoes everyday, and allow the inside of the shoes to dry before wearing them again.
  • Always make sure your socks or hose are clean and dry.
  • Use talcum powder in your shoes.
  • Wear synthetic socks.
  • Avoid tight socks and hose.
  • Take you own tools to salons for manicures and pedicures.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching an infected nail.
  • If you suspect a fusarium infection or other fungal infection of the nails, see you podiatrist.

nail fungus
nail fungus

Toenail Fungus Treatment

Toenail fungus treatment options are varied, depending on your physician, on the extent of the fungal infection, and on possible complications. For example, if you have a compromised immune system, the nail fungus could spread and cause damage to other parts of the body. In that case, your doctor might be more aggressive with your toenail fungus treatment.

One treatment for toenail fungus involves a prescription antifungal medicine taken by mouth. As has already been mentioned, such drugs can have serious side effects, so your doctor will weigh the benefits with the potential dangers.

Another toenail fungus treatment includes a special nail polish that has antifungal properties. The polish doesn’t have as many negative side effects as the oral antifungal medication, but it doesn’t work as quickly, either. In fact, it might take months before you notice any improvement, and some patients don’t seem to respond to the polish at all.

For severe cases of toenail fungus, surgery might be the only toenail fungus treatment that works. With this surgery, the entire toenail is removed, and the nail bed might then be treated with an antifungal medication to kill any fungus remaining.

Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus

Laser treatment for toenail fungus is relatively new, and doctors disagree on exactly how it works. Some dermatologists believe that the intense light from the laser kills the fungus outright, while others think that the laser slows down the fungus enough for the natural immune system to be able to fight off the infection.

Laser treatment for toenail fungus isn’t cheap – it might cost over $1,000. Unfortunately, the treatment sessions aren’t usually covered by health insurance policies, either. Some patients need three or four treatments, too. Even then, it could take months for the fungal infection to completely disappear. Dermatologists are reporting that from their experience with patients who used the laser treatment for toenail fungus, 70%-85% of the recipients showed marked improvement.

Toenail Fungus Laser Treatment:

Toenail Fungus Home Remedies

How to treat toenail fungus at home? Toenail fungus is tough to treat, even for doctors. Not everyone responds to treatment, and even for some patients who do respond, the nail fungus often returns later. Still, there are people who swear by toenail fungus home remedies. You’ll have to make the call whether to try to treat the fungus yourself or seek the help of a medical professional. If you have diabetes or a suppressed immune system, see a doctor instead of using toenail fungus home remedies.

Some of the most popular toenail fungus home remedies include using hydrogen peroxide, over-the-counter topical antifungal ointments, Listerine, tea tree oil, natural herbs, baking soda, vinegar, iodine, urine, or a solution of common household bleach and water. Some people use a combination of these home remedies as they try to figure out how to treat toenail fungus. The best and safest way to handle any sort of nail fungus, however, is to make an appointment with your primary care physician or with a dermatologist.

Toenail Fungus Home Remedies:


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    • Health Card profile image

      Evie Dawson 4 years ago

      I got toenail fungus 2 years back.,.. And I must say I don't want to have it again..


    • mariesthorayanlaz profile image

      mariesthorayanlaz 6 years ago from India

      It is very informative. What a horrible photograph?

    • profile image

      labguyinmi 6 years ago

      I have been using a "shop-vac" to vacuum out large amounts of Fusarium Fungi out of industrial environmental protection equipment. Is this hazardous to my health?-lab guy in Mi.

    • profile image

      whitecloud 6 years ago

      I believe Bob Marley died of a toe nail fungus

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Dawn, don't you just love that toe?? lol

    • dawnM profile image

      Dawn Michael 7 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

      HI habee, I never heard of that, very interesting and the nail picture was an eye catcher to say the

      great article

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      You're welcome, Nancy!

    • nancy_30 profile image

      nancy_30 7 years ago from Georgia

      I've never heard of this before, so thank you for sharing this very useful information.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Zetaclear has had some great reviews from users. Ask your doctor about it.

    • profile image

      Gal 7 years ago

      I was dealing with toe issues since September. In May they finally figured out it was fusarium. I have No idea how I got it as I never get pedicures. I was told that I could have just gotten it from wearing flip flops and soil getting in. I didn't gave the discolored nail just a swollen toe. It has been extremely hard to get rid of. I've been hospitalized twice as it led to a soft tissue infection that was traveling up my foot to my leg. It's miserable and frustrating! Been on pills to treat it since June but it still get swollen and very painful. Does Zetaclear really work for Fusarium? Any side effects to worry about?

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Sorry, charenjeet - it is pretty gross, huh??

    • charanjeet kaur profile image

      charanjeet kaur 7 years ago from Delhi

      Habee what a hub? Man the image is going to last in my memory for ages. The only thing I had on my foot was a corn and I thought that was awful. Talk about fusarium and I feel like a frog in the well. lol. What a useful hub, I am so darn scared to enter any garden.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for reading, Jemmy!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      LOL, Mulberry - good idea!

    • Jemmy-T profile image

      Jemmy-T 7 years ago from Lovely Home

      Oww, I hate if my toe like that. Thanks for sharing this habee

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 7 years ago

      I had heard of this, but after reading about it, and seeing the photo, I'll be keeping my feet, shoes and socks very clean and dry. Thank you.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Right, Eth. Most people know about nail fungal infections, but fusarium infections in some can be deadly. thanks for reading!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      What scary information. Very useful hub most of which was unknown to me. Although I know that nail infections can spread etc.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Sorry, Buckie - didn't mean to make you toss your cookies! lol

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Mick, how bout EWWWW!!!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Pam, what's weird is that there aren't MORE fungal infections. Fungi are everywhere!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Awww...thanks, Judy!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Chris, I think it would def be anti-fun! lol

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, RN. I guess you've seen this at work, huh?

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Good to see you, CM!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Many thanks, HH!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Lol, for real, Sheila!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Knowledge is power, Katie!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Funny, Bayou!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Really, Dolores - most people don't die from nail fungus!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      EWWWWW - great information and now have to go do something before I urp on myself! Some things are just hard to talk about - you did it well and thanks for sharing!!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Yikes! Or maybe- eek!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Habee, This hub has great information and it is so well done. Fungal infections are never good and thanks for all the good information.

    • judydianne profile image

      judydianne 7 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

      You continue to amaze me with your knowledge and research, Holle. "Good to know" information!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, HP!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Too funny, Rob!

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      that would absolutely be no fun at all. interesting hub!!

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 7 years ago from Tucson, Az

      way to go habee thoroughly researched and very good information!!

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Had never heard of fusarium fungus infection before, habee. Great information, but am very glad that my toes don't look like your picture!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      You really did a thorough and complete research and thank you for your hard work and making us aware of this infection. Well done, habee.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 7 years ago

      Gosh, I need a manicure and a pedicure. I do my own, though, after seeing a show about getting fungus infections at salons. Actually, your picture of the toe is probably good to have there. If somebody's toe looks like that, they'll know they better get some help.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      UGH, it's gross but a need to know issue, thanks for the heads up on fusarium fungal infections, now I know and knowing is always better than being without knowledge!

    • bayoulady profile image

      bayoulady 7 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      Great information, and again I have learned something new....sigh....I still have an appetite! Maybe one more yucky photo just to help me out........???Hummmmm? Just kidding!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      habee - something else that I've never heard of. Amazing what we don't know. People may be talking about the ugly toe, but the other stuff is terrible!

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

      Good as well as useful information. Thanks.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 7 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Thanks for the information. I'll probably be fixated on my fingers and toes for the next few says.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, guys. Just wanted you to know that the above is NOT my toe!! I have pretty toes!

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 7 years ago

      OMG I'm with DG on this one, thank goodness though I finished my breakfast first before reading this. I know a lot of people who have gout end up with a lot of foot problems.

      My dad as he was on his last couple of years on earth suffered terribly with gout and most of his toe nails looked like above. Sad how the body keeps dying on us and creating all these problems in later years.

      Now go put a bandage over that disgusting toenail:0))))he he

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      Thank you for that discusting image with the nail. It came just after lunch and I have managed to loose it, thereby saving useless calories. Good for the figure. Let me know the next time you put up a similar photos so as not to miss it :-))


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