What is the role of dermatophytes in the pathophysiology of tinea capitis (scalp ringworm)?

Updated: Feb 21, 2020
  • Author: Marc Zachary Handler, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Dermatophytes are among the most common infectious agents of humans, causing a variety of clinical conditions that are collectively termed dermatophytosis. From the site of inoculation, the fungal hyphae grow centrifugally in the stratum corneum. The fungus continues downward growth into the hair, invading keratin as it is formed. The zone of involvement extends upwards at the rate at which hair grows, and it is visible above the skin surface by days 12-14. Infected hairs are brittle, and by the third week, broken hairs are evident.


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