Sporothrix schenckii is distributed worldwide, but the majority of cases have been reported from endemic areas in the US (Oklahoma, Missouri, and Mississippi river valleys), South America (Brazil, Peru, Colombia), India, and Japan. The incidence of sporotrichosis is difficult to access but is estimated to be approximately 50 to 60 cases/100,000 inhabitants in Abancay, Peru, a known area of hyperendemicity. There is no racial predominance of sporotrichosis, and depending on the geographic area, either men (US, Peru) or women (Japan, India, Brazil) have been more commonly affected, illustrating the different occupational and avocational exposure of men and women to the fungus in these geographic regions. Adults are affected more commonly in all reported series except for Abancay, Peru where 60% of cases occurred in children <15 years old. As the fungus is abundant in soil, wood, and moss, most infections occur following minor skin trauma in people with occupations or hobbies involving the outdoors such as gardening, landscaping, topiary production, Christmas tree farming, and hay baling. Similarly, inoculation has occurred following motor vehicle accidents and in laboratory personnel handling Sporothrix-infected specimens. Most cases are sporadic but outbreaks have occurred; the largest was in South Africa in the 1940s when 3000 gold miners developed sporotrichosis following traumatic inoculation by wood splinters from contaminated timbers. Another well-documented mode of transmission of sporotrichosis is zoonotic (mainly via cat scratches) and, less often, from armadillos or insect, rodent, and dog bites. An outbreak of sporotrichosis in cats in Brazil was reported, where the infection was transmitted to humans and dogs.
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