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Dermatophytoses in cats and humans in central Italy: epidemiological aspects


Dr Claudia Cafarchia, Department of Animal Health and Welfare, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Bari (Italy), Str. prov. le per Casamassima Km 3, 70010 Valenzano, Bari, Italy.
Tel.: +39 080 467 9837. Fax: +39 080 467 9839.


Two hundred hair/skin samples were collected from 2002 to 2004 from two groups of cats (privately owned and stray cats from a shelter) and 165 samples were obtained during the same period from persons in whom dermatophyte infection was highly suspected. The epidemiological data were statistically evaluated. Thirteen of the 100 privately owned cats (13%) and 100% of the stray cats were positive; of the 165 human samples examined 109 (66%) were positive for dermatophytes. Microsporum canis was the most common dermatophyte isolated in both cat groups while Trichophyton mentagrophytes was the most common in humans. Interestingly, a geophylic dermatophyte species (Microsporum gypseum) was found to be present and associated with clinical signs. Living in the countryside proved to be a risk factor for dermatophytoses in privately owned cats while in humans the main risk factor for M. canis was contact with animals followed by young age. None of the variables considered was associated with positivity for T. mentagrophytes while positivity for other fungi was correlated with life in the countryside.