How can tinea capitis (scalp ringworm) be prevented?

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

Asymptomatic carriers should be detected and treated, since they are the continuous source of infection. Siblings and playmates of patients should avoid close physical contact and sharing of toys or other personal objects, such as combs and hairbrushes, since organisms can spread from one person to another and infectious agents can be transported to different classrooms within the same or in different schools. Shared facilities and objects also may promote spread of disease, both within the home and the classroom.

Those children receiving treatment should be allowed to return to school. [35]

Public health measures regarding the source of infection should be a concern for controlling tinea capitis.

The source of some zoophilic species often is difficult to trace. Outbreaks of M canis can be extensive. Patients' cats and dogs must be inspected under a Wood lamp and referred for treatment. At times, animal control agencies are contacted to round up stray dogs and cats. T mentagrophytes may follow known contact with rodents, but often, no source can be identified.

As many as 14% of asymptomatic children have been found to be carriers of causative dermatophyte for tinea capitis in a primary school in Philadelphia. [36] Without therapy, 4% developed symptoms of infection, 58% remained culture positive, and 38% became culture negative within an average 2.3-month follow-up period.


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