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SKIN INFECTIONS: fungal skin infections



Fungal infections of the skin, or mycoses, affecting only the outer layers of skin are mostly caused by:

Candida albicans - the most common cause for Candidiasis infection, that usually occurs in the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth, respiratory tract, or vagina but may invade the bloodstream, especially in immunocompromised individuals. Also called candidosis, moniliasis, yeast infection or thrush, the latter term usually being reserved for infection of the mucous membrane of the mouth. Candidiasis can usually only be found in exposed and moist parts of the body, such as:
  • the oral cavity (oral candidiasis / oral thrush),
  • the vagina (vaginal candidiasis / candidal vulvovaginitis),
  • the penis (candidal balanitis) - usually traceable to a female with the infection,
  • folds of skin (candidal intertrigo),
  • in the diaper area (diaper rash).
Trichophyton, epidermophyton, microsporum - are three types of fungus species causing a group of infections called Dermatophytoses, that means "skin fungi", characterized by ring-shaped, scaly, itching patches on the skin. The early myth that the infection occured due to a worm, gave it the name of Ringworm, medically called tinea (lat.). By adding another word to tinea is indicated location of the fungus on the patient's body. The types of ringworm, or tinea, include:
  • tinea barbae,
  • tinea capitis,
  • tinea corporis,
  • tinea cruris,
  • tinea faciei,
  • tinea manuum,
  • tinea pedis (Athlete's Foot),
  • tinea unguium.
Fungal infection of the nails is named onychomycosis. Onychomycosis caused by such dermatophytes as Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton interdigitale is called Tinea unguium, this infection affects toenails and fingernails, frequently involving the great toenail or the little toenail. Tinea unguium often results from untreated tinea pedis or tinea manuum.

Malassezia - causes infection named pityriasis versicolor (a.k.a. tinea versicolor, Peter Elam's disease). Malassezia furfur (previously known as Pityrosporum ovale) - is probably the most common cause of dandruff.


Fungal infections that cause serious or even fatal illness, affecting the deeper layers of skin and internal organs are:

Sporothrix schenckii - is the cause for Sporotrichosis, a disease of farmers, gardeners, and horticulturists, affecting the skin and lymphatic system. Infection-causing fungus can be found in the soil and plant materials, and enters the skin through small abrasions (often left by plant thorns, barbs, needles).

Blastomycosis dermatitidis, blastomycosis brasiliensis - causes a rare fungal infection called Blastomycosis, primarily affecting the lungs and skin.


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