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Tinea Capitis
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Finea capitis is the named used for infection of the scalp with a dermatophyte fungus. It is very common in children, but is less frequently seen in adults.

Causes of Tinea Capitis

M. Canis is the commonest dermatophyte fungus to cause tinea capitis. This fungus is zoophilic, that is it grows naturally on an animal rather than a human. M. Canis tinea capitis is due to contact with an infected kitten or rarely an older cat or dog.

Other zoophilic fungi sometimes found to cause tinea capitis are T. Verrucosum, M. nanum, M. Distortum, etc. T. Tonsurans has also become a common cause of tinea capitis, as this is passed on from one person to another as it naturally infects humans that are it is anthropophlic.

It frequently causes no symptoms and is commonly found in adult carriers. Other anthropohilic fungis, sometimes found to cause tinea capitis are like M. ferrugineum, T. rubrum, etc.

Tinea capitis is contagious as it spreads through combs, brushes, caps, pillowcases, cloth chairs and other inanimate objects. The fungus causing tinea capitis prefers hair follicles. This is why tinea capitis favours the scalp area.

Symptoms of Tinea Capitis

Tinea capitis is most prevalent between 3 and 7 years of age. It is slightly more common in boys than girls. Anthropophilic infections are more common in crowded living conditions.

The spores are long lived and can infect an other individual months later. Geophilic infections usually arise when working in infected soil but are sometimes transferred from an infected animal. Zoophilic infections are due to direct contact with an infected animal and are not generally passed from one person to another.

Tinea capitis may present in several ways: Dry scaling like dandruff but usually with moth-eaten hair loss. Smooth areas of hair loss. Block dots that are the hairs are broken off at the scalp surface, which is scaly. Kerion, that is very inflamed mass like an abscess is noted.

Favus, that is yellow crusts and matter hair may be observed. Carrier state no symptoms and only mild scaling. Tinea capitis may result in swollen lymph glands at the sides of the back of the neck. Untreated kerion and favus may result in a hypersensitivity reaction, especially just after starting antifungal treatment.

Treatment of Tinea Capitis

The diagnosis of tinea capitis is confirmed by microscopy and culture of skin scrapings and hair pulled out by the roots. If the child has an anthropophilic infection, all family members should be examined for signs of infection. Tinea capitis is usually treated with an antifungal, such as griseoflavin, which is taken by mouth for 8 weeks.

Tinea capitis is also treated with an effective natural treatment like Nizoral shampoo, which is used to wash the scalp 2-3 times a week.

It is very important to continue the use of the oral medication and shampoo for the entire 8 weeks Treatment failure is common when medications are not taken everyday for the full 8 weeks. Most children are not contagious when using the oral medication and shampoo.



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