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Keywords:

  • Tinea capitis;
  • asymptomatic scalp carriage;
  • anthropophilic;
  • dermatophyte;
  • household contacts;
  • diagnosis

Abstract

For anthropophilic tinea capitis (TC), household spread and asymptomatic scalp carriage (ASC) is considered an important route of transmission and incomplete clearance. To investigate ASC in household contacts of patients diagnosed with TC in a tertiary hospital in Athens, Greece, we retrospectively reviewed the medical files of household contacts that were screened for ASC from 1997 to 2011. Only 34 household contacts of 15 index cases agreed to come for screening. Thirty-three (97%) household contacts were asymptomatic scalp carriers. The most commonly isolated species was Trichophyton violaceum (59%). There was a statistically significant association of ASC with the isolated dermatophyte species (T. violaceum, P-value: 0.029), and with the age of younger than 16 years old (P-value: 0.005), while there was no association with gender (P-value: 0.672). A small number of household contacts accepted to proceed for screening. ASC was found in nearly all screened household contacts and was associated with T. violaceum and younger age. The low number of household contacts that accepted screening may reflect the ignorance of the general population about the possibility of ASC among household contacts in case of a patient with TC.