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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Fungal Infections in Humans. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Dermatophytes (Epidermophyton, Microsporum, Trichophyton) - Introduction

Dermatophytes are keratinophilic, which means that they are able to digest keratin as a nutrient source using keratinases. This special ability is the source of their pathogenicity and thus most infections are limited to superficial keratinized structures such as hair, nails, and the stratum corneum of skin. They are uniformly resistant to cyclohexamide.
The rapid diagnosis of dermatophytosis can be made with a bedside KOH or calcofluor white preparation of skin scrapings. Microscopy cannot be used to distinguish among the dermatophytes; only culture can do so.
Dermatophyte infections can take many forms, including tinea capitis (scalp ringworm), tinea corporis (ringworm), tinea cruris (jock itch), tinea pedis (athlete's foot), and tinea unguium (onychomycosis).