Sporotrichosis (also known as "rose gardener's disease") is a disease caused by the infection of the fungus Sporothrix schenckii. This fungal disease usually affects the skin, although other rare forms can affect the lungs, joints, bones, and even the brain. Because roses can spread the disease, it is one of a few diseases referred to as rose-thorn or rose-gardeners' disease.
Because S. schenckii is naturally found in soil, hay, sphagnum moss, and plants, it usually affects farmers, gardeners, and agricultural workers. It enters through small cuts and abrasions in the skin to cause the infection. In case of sporotrichosis affecting the lungs, the fungal spores enter through the respiratory pathways. Sporotrichosis can also be acquired from handling cats with the disease; it is an occupational hazard for veterinarians.
Sporotrichosis progresses slowly – the first symptoms may appear 1 to 12 weeks (average 3 weeks) after the initial exposure to the fungus. Serious complications can also develop in patients who have a compromised immune system.