A case of cutaneous human infection with a species of the achloric algal genus is described. The infection occurred in a woman who had diabetes mellitus and widespread metastatic carcinoma from the breast, and whose therapy included corticosteroids, cytotoxic drugs, antibacterial agents and antibiotics. The organism was cultured from the lesions and identified in them with the light and electron microscopes on two separate occasions. It was non-pathogenic on inoculation in guinea-pigs, mice, rats and rabbits. The case is viewed in the light of the concept of microbial opportunism, and it is postulated that the alga requires a distinct, but as yet undefined, alteration in the host resistance before it is able to act as a pathogen.


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