The spectrum of fungal infections with a special reference to dermatophytoses in the capital area of Kuwait during 2000-2005: a retrospective analysis

Mostafa A Yehia, Tarek S El-Ammawi, Khairia M Al-Mazidi, Mahmoud A Abu El-Ela, Hejab S Al-Ajmi
Mycopathologia 2010, 169 (4): 241-6

BACKGROUND: Fungal infections constitute a major health problem all over the world. Signs and symptoms induced by various dermatophytic infections are difficult to distinguish clinically from each other. So, characterization by in vitro culture is required for appropriate diagnosis and treatment as well as to study the epidemiological characteristics in a region.

OBJECTIVES: The present retrospective work was aimed to study the spectrum of fungal infections of the skin, nails and hairs in the Capital area of Kuwait over a span of 5 years and to compare the results with those reported earlier from this region and other parts of the world. PATIENTS/MATERIALS: The study was conducted on 2,730 patients referred from dermatology outpatients to mycology laboratory suspected to have fungal infection over a 5-year period. Identification of dermatophyte isolates obtained was done by conventional microscopic examination in all patients, whereas culture techniques were performed for 1,593 of them.

RESULTS: Among 2,730 patients, 1,437 were men and 1,293 were women with a men to women ratio of 1.1:1. The age ranged from 3 months to 70 years (mean age 28.5 years). The clinical diagnosis of these patients was as follows: onychomycosis; tinea corporis; tinea capitis; tinea pedis; tinea cruris; tinea manum and tinea versicolor. Potassium hydroxide (KOH) examination showed positive results in 39% of all cases, whereas positive cultures were obtained in 29% of cultured specimens. Among dermatophytes, six species were isolated: Trichophyton mentagrophytes (39%), Microsporum canis (16%), Trichophyton rubrum (10%), Epidermophyton floccosum (6.2%), Trichophyton violaceum (2.4%) and Trichophyton verrucosum (0.4%). Trichophyton mentagrophytes was isolated from all body sites. Candida and Aspergillus niger were isolated on cycloheximide-free cultures in cases with onychomycosis.

CONCLUSIONS: Cutaneous fungal infections including dermatophytes remain prevalent in this part of the world. The most common isolate was T. mentagrophytes followed by Candida species. The least isolate was T. verrucosum. Species identification in relation to factors such as time, place and population is warranted in order to implement treatment regimens and to propose potential control measures.

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