What is the role of cultures in the diagnosis 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

Culture provides precise identification of the species for epidemiologic purposes. [22] Primary isolation is carried out at room temperature, usually on Sabouraud agar containing antibiotics (penicillin/streptomycin or chloramphenicol) and cycloheximide (Acti-Dione), which is an antifungal agent that suppresses the growth of environmental contaminant fungi. In cases of tender kerion, the agar plate can be inoculated directly by pressing it gently against the lesion. Most dermatophytes can be identified within 2 weeks, although T verrucosum grows best at 37°C and may have formed only into small and granular colonies at this stage. Identification depends on gross colony and microscopic morphology. Specimens should be inoculated on to primary isolation media, such as Sabouraud dextrose, and incubated at 26-28°C for 4 weeks. The growth of any dermatophyte is significant.

In some cases, other tests involving nutritional requirements and hair penetration in vitro are necessary to confirm the identification.


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