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Definition

Tinea Corporis is also known as dermatophytosis and ringworm. It is a superficial fungal infection of the skin, hair or nails. In different parts of the world, different species cause tinea corporis. In New Zealand, Trichophyton rubrum (T. rubrum) is the most common cause. Infection often comes from the feet or nails originally. Tinea corporis is common among children and is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, as well as via contact with contaminated items such as hairbrushes. Tinea corporis is an infection of the body surface by mold-like fungi called dermatophytes.

Causes

This infection is not caused by a worm. Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin, and it can be caused by many different types of fungi. Although the fungus can be "caught" from many sources, puppies and kittens are very common carriers of the infection. Most mammals have a skin fungus with which they live in peaceful coexistence, without any symptoms for the animal, but the fungus can be transferred to humans. Fungi thrive in warm, moist areas. Poor hygiene, long-term wetness of the skin (such as from sweating) and minor skin and nail injuries raise your risk for a fungal infection.

Symptoms

Tinea capitis may appear as small, spreading papules (bumps) on the scalp that may progress to inflamed, pus-filled lesions. Patchy hair loss with scaling may occur. The term tinea has an interesting origin. A worm of a moth would sometimes grow on a woolen blanket. The resulting round holes were similar to the rounded lesions seen on the skin of patients. The genus name for the moth was Tinea, and thus this name was used as part of the Latin binomials naming these infections.

Treatment

Treatment should be started as soon as possible to avoid the fungal infection spreading further and to avoid infection of other healthy people. Stronger prescription topical antifungal medications, such as ketoconazole may be needed to treat this illness. Antibiotics may be needed to treat secondary bacterial infections. Infected pets should be treated. Oral antifungal medications may be given. Antibiotics may be needed to treat secondary bacterial infections. Infected pets should be treated.

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