Human nail dust and precipitating antibodies to Trichophyton rubrum in chiropodists


Dr R. R. Davies, Bacteriology Department, St Mary's Hospital Medical School, London W2 1PG.


The toe-nail dust produced in chiropodial practice causes allergic hypersensitivity and Trichophyton rubrum is the most common fungal cause of nail dystrophy. Use of drills and burrs to reduce the thickness of hyperkeratotic nails generates dust and chiropodists develop precipitins to T. rubrum. A survey into the prevalence of these antibodies in 11.2% of state-registered chiropodists is described and 14% of the profession estimated to have antibodies to T. rubrum. In response to a questionnaire 49% stated that toe-nail dust troubled them; complaints of nasal and eye symptoms were 72 and 41% respectively. In 384 chiropodists ventilatory function was tested with a vitalograph. Restrictive lung disease appears to be more common in chiropodists than other sedentary workers.