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Mycetoma is a chronic infection of the skin, subcutaneous tissue and sometimes bone characterised by discharging sinuses filled with organisms. It is generally found on the foot where it is given the name “watering can foot”.

Mycetoma may be due to several fungi (when it is called “eumycetoma”) or actinomycetes (“actinomycetoma”). Actinomycetes are bacteria that produce filaments, like fungi. Both the fungi and the actinomycetes are found in soil and plant material in tropical regions.

The organism is inoculated into the skin by a minor injury, for example, a cut with a thorn when barefoot. It is not endemic in New Zealand but mycetoma is occasionally diagnosed in native Pacific Islanders.

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