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Abstract

Background  Trichophyton mentagrophytes var. erinacei is a zoophilic dermatophyte transmitted by hedgehogs which human infections manifest as highly inflammatory and pruritic eruptions.

Methods  We report a 21-year-old woman who presented with a two-week history of a pruritic scaly erythematous plaque on the nose. The patient had kept hedgehogs as pets, and one had bitten her on the tip of the nose two months prior to the appearance of the nasal lesion.

Results  Fungal culture from the scales on the tip of the patient’s nose was compatible with T. mentagrophytes var. erinacei. The strains isolated from cultures made from samples taken from the noses and ears of the pet hedgehogs were morphologically similar to the strain isolated from the patient. Morphological identification was confirmed by sequencing the internal transcribed spacer. The lesion was diagnosed as tinea faciei, and therapy was initiated with topical and systemic terbinafine 250 mg/day for eight weeks, which resulted in complete improvement.

Conclusions  Trichophyton mentagrophytes var. erinacei is the most common dermatophyte isolated in hedgehogs. Usually T. mentagrophytes var. erinacei infection manifests as an extremely inflammatory and pruritic eruption that is confined to the site of contact with the hedgehog. Although the identification of T. mentagrophytes by traditional methods is possible, identification by ITS region analysis is a fast, simple, and increasingly available method. The increasing frequency of the practice of keeping exotic animals as pets has resulted in the emergence of several zoonotic diseases that can potentially be transmitted to humans.