Superficial Fungal Infections Dermatophytosis

Organism Fungi of the genus Trichophyton, Microsporum, Epidermophyton and Scytali-dium.

Clinical features Also called tinea, the fungi attack specific sites on the body, the moist skin in the feet or groin, the nails, the scalp or the body. Tinea corporis (often called ring worm) produces well-defined, circular lesions that spread out from the centre causing slight depigmentation as they proceed. Tinea capitis causes areas of baldness, hairs becoming brittle so that they break off. Tinea versicolor produces a blotchy hypopigmentation that can sometimes be misdiagnosed as leprosy. Tinea imbricata is particularly common in Western Pacific Islands, producing serpigin-ous scaly designs that can cover the whole body.

Diagnosis is clinical, but infected hairs fluoresce in ultraviolet light.

Transmission is by close bodily contact, the sharing of clothes, towels, etc. Dogs, cats and other animals also carry the fungus.

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