Background There are currently no studies on epidemiology and clinical aspects of nail fungal infections in the general population of Cameroon.
Patients and methods Two series of patients observed at a hospital dermatological service of Yaoundé and in a volunteer service of Douala were evaluated. All the patients, regardless of the reason for the consultation, were examined by an expert dermatologist to discover signs of onychomycosis. Patients with suspected nail lesions underwent mycological examination according to the standard techniques.
Results Among 590 subjects (317 males and 273 females), aged 16–83 years, onychomycosis was mycologically confirmed in 52 cases (8.8%). The infection was most common in the fifth decade. Fingernails were affected in 12 cases, toenails in 30 cases, and both fingernails and toenails in 10 cases. Dermatophytes were isolated in 57.7% of cases, the most common species being Trichophyton rubrum (16 cases) and Trichophyton violaceum (eight cases). Non-dermatophytic mould, including Aspergillus spp., Fusarium spp., and Neoscytalidium dimidiatum, was found in 10 cases. Onychomycosis was more common in patients from low social-economic classes.
Conclusions This is the first investigation dealing with onychomycosis in Cameroon. These data may be useful for future research and in the development of preventive and educational strategies.