Tinea capitis in adults in southern Spain. A 17-year epidemiological study.Rev Iberoam Micol 2016 Apr-Jun; 33(2):110-3RI
Tinea capitis is an infection of the hair due to keratinophilic fungi, known as dermatophytes. Although the disease is common in children, several studies have also shown that it is far from unusual in adults, especially in post-menopausal women and immunocompromised persons.
To determine the incidence of tinea capitis in adults in our area, as well as the predisposing factors (gender, immunity), and causative species.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
A retrospective study was conducted over a period of 17 years, from 1995 to 2011, collecting data on cases of tinea capitis diagnosed in our dermatology department. Information collected for all patients included age, gender, location of the lesions, results of direct examination and culture, immune status, cause of immunosuppression, and the prescribed treatment.
Thirty-three cases (11.4%) out of 289 cases of tinea capitis occurred in adults. Most of these adults (72%) were immunocompetent, and the rest were immunocompromised for different reasons. Three of the patients were men and 30 women, with 70% of the latter being post-menopausal. Trichophyton species were isolated in 76% of these adult patients, with Trichophyton violaceum being the most common. Treatment with oral terbinafine was successful in all these cases. Microsporum species were responsible for the other cases, all treated successfully with oral griseofulvin.
This series of tinea capitis in adults is one of the largest to date. It shows that tinea capitis is not uncommon among the immunocompetent adult population. In our geographical area, except for prepubescent patients, most cases affecting the adult population were caused by species of the genus Trichophyton. In these cases the treatment of choice was oral terbinafine, which considerably shortened the treatment time, and was associated with fewer side effects than the classical griseofulvin.