Tinea capitis in a paediatric population.Ir Med J. 2006 Nov-Dec; 99(10):294-5.IM
Tinea capitis is an increasing problem in Europe. The pattern of infection is changing with an increase in pathogenic anthropophilic dermatophytes particularly Trichophyton tonsurans. We aimed to determine the frequency of tinea capitis in a paediatric population attending dermatology outpatients and examine the clinical spectrum of disease. A retrospective analysis was performed of all laboratory proven tinea capitis cases presenting to the dermatology outpatient department at The Children's University Hospital, Temple Street over an 18-month period (1st January 2004 to 30th of June 2005 inclusive). Sixty-two children had tinea capitis of whom 53 (85.5%) were of African descent. Thirty-five (56%) were male and 27 female (44%). The average age at presentation was 4.02 years (age range 1-163 months) with five cases occurring in children less than one year of age. The most common pathogen was the anthropophilic dermatophyte Trichophyton tonsurans, accounting for 47 (75.8%) of all cases of tinea capitis. Eight (12.9%) were secondary to Microsporum ferrigineum, 2 (3.2%) secondary to Trichophyton violaceum, both Trichophyton soudanese and Trichophyton verruosum accounted for 1.6% each. The zoophilic organism Microsporum canis was diagnosed in 3 cases (4.8%). Presenting signs included scaling of the scalp (35.47%), scaling of the scalp and alopecia (53.24%), and alopecia and kerion (11.29%/o). The duration of symptoms was recorded in 52 patients with the average duration 8.38 months (range 0.5-72 months). In 20 cases an associated skin involvement on other areas of the body was recorded. All patients at diagnosis were either on no, suboptimal or inappropriate treatment. The prevalence of tinea capitis is increasing in this hospital based cohort. The main pathogen is now Trichophyton tonsurans. Children of African descent are at increased risk of infection. The diagnosis is poorly recognized and needs to be highlighted as a public health issue. There is a need for community based prevalence studies.