Author: Hon A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2003.
Mycology is the study of fungi.
Dermatophyte fungi are the ringworm fungi (tinea). They depend on their host, which may be an animal ("zoophilic") or a human ("anthropophilic") and need to spread from one host to another to survive. Dermatophytes may also prefer to live in the soil ("geophilic").
Anthropophilic dermatophytes are so well adapted to living on human skin that they provoke minimal inflammatory reaction. Zoophilic or geophilic dermatophytes will often provoke a more vigorous inflammatory reaction when they attempt to invade human skin.
There are three genera of dermatophytes, recognised by the nature of their macroconidae (asexual spores):
There are about 40 species. Their spores can live for more than a year in human skin scales in the environment.
Anthropophilic organisms include:
Zoophilic organisms include:
Geophilic organisms include:
Fungal infection may be suspected clinically or with the help of dermoscopy. The presence of a dermatophyte infection is confirmed by:
© 2018 DermNet New Zealand Trust.
DermNet NZ does not provide an online consultation service. If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice.