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I know ringworm is caused by a fungus on the skin, nails or scalp but what causes the rash to form as a ring instead of like a normal spread out rash?
Ringworm is caused by a several species of Trichophyton fungi (T. rubrum, T. tonsurans, T. interdigitale, and/or T. mentagrophytes); and a couple others are well known (Microsporum canis, and Epidermophyton floccosum).
The ring pattern is not unique to ringworm causing fungi. (Fairy) Rings are totally common with fungi because mycelium grows outward from the center; and as the mycelium grows, the inner mycelium often dies (from starvation, age, attack by immune system?, or it is cannibalized) leaving only the outer ring of mycelium, which may continue expanding.
Unfortunately the medical world doesn't spend much time on the problems that they can already solve (like with an antifungal ointment or pill), so there hasn't been much effort devoted (to my knowledge) toward answering the mechanistic questions of ring formation of dermatophytic fungi. But it is known that some Trichophyton species sexually reproduce and Trichophyton rubrum also probably does reproduce sexually (ie., plasmogamy, karyogamy, and gametangia). I don't have any grounds for mentioning it (besides logic), but sexual reproduction is probably "age" related in fungi as is growth- so, a ring may be more pronounced in an area where fungal hyphae conjugate… much like the expression of fruiting bodies of other mushrooms.
Ringworm is a common infection of the skin and nails that is caused by fungus. The infection is called &ldquoringworm&rdquo because it can cause an itchy, red, circular rash. Ringworm is also called &ldquotinea&rdquo or &ldquodermatophytosis.&rdquo The different types of ringworm are usually named for the location of the infection on the body.
Areas of the body that can be affected by ringworm include:
- Feet (tinea pedis, commonly called &ldquoathlete&rsquos foot&rdquo)
- Groin, inner thighs, or buttocks (tinea cruris, commonly called &ldquojock itch&rdquo)
- Scalp (tinea capitis)
- Beard (tinea barbae)
- Hands (tinea manuum)
- Toenails or fingernails (tinea unguium, also called &ldquoonychomycosis&rdquo) Click here for more information about fungal nail infections.
- Other parts of the body such as arms or legs (tinea corporis)
Approximately 40 different species of fungi can cause ringworm the scientific names for the types of fungi that cause ringworm are Trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton. 1
How Ringworm Spreads
The fungi that cause ringworm can live on skin and in the environment. There are three main ways that ringworm can spread:
1. From a person who has ringworm.
People can get ringworm after contact with someone who has the infection. To avoid spreading the infection, people with ringworm shouldn&rsquot share clothing, towels, combs, or other personal items with other people.
2. From an animal that has ringworm.
People can get ringworm after touching an animal that has ringworm. Many different kinds of animals can spread ringworm to people, including dogs and cats, especially kittens and puppies. Other animals, like cows, goats, pigs, and horses can also spread ringworm to people. Please click here for more information about pets and ringworm, and click here for information about how to stay healthy at petting zoos and other animal exhibits.
3. From the environment.
The fungi that cause ringworm can live on surfaces, particularly in damp areas like locker rooms and public showers. For that reason, it&rsquos a good idea not to walk barefoot in these places.
Early, Advanced & Healing Stages of Ringworm
There are various stages of ringworm and these stages are mainly classified due to various factors such as the symptoms of ringworm, parts on which it is affected and species of fungi that are responsible for the disease. Based on all these factors, ringworm is classified into the following stages:
Early Stages: In the early stage, you will not get too much symptom of ringworm. It usually takes four to fourteen days for the symptoms of ringworm to appear clearly. This is because the fungi multiply itself on the skin and when the fungi are in enough quantity you can notice a pink or red spot on the skin. Very often the affected area becomes dry, scaly and most importantly it becomes itchy. Day by day the rash on the skin will start to increase and it will create a circular patch on the affected part of the skin with red edges. When you can observe such circular patches on the skin with the red edge you must understand that you are the victim of the early stage of ringworm. In such a case, you should immediately go to a dermatologist and take proper medication.
Advanced Stages: If the early stage of ringworm is not treated properly, it may get into the advanced stage. The infection of fungi gets fully settled in the advanced stage and it may appear on various parts of the body and presents itself in various forms. Some of the common areas where the fungus develops are face, hand, scalp, feet, and groin and these affected areas are medically called as Tinea unguium, Tinea capitis, Tinea pedis and Tinea barbae.
- Tinea capitis is usually seen in children aging in between 3 years to 7 years. It usually occurs at the scalp. In Tinea capitis, you can observe dry scaling on the scalp which will cause hair loss, yellow crusts, black dots on the scalp, etc. Swollen lymph gland is also observed on the neck during Tinea capitis. You may also experience some fever during this stage. It should be treated quickly because it may cause permanent hair loss on the affected area.
- Tinea pedis is most common in human and it is very difficult to treat as it mainly appears on the foot. In Tinea pedis, you will experience itching and pain in the affected area. You can feel dry scaling on the feet, a cluster of blisters, round and dry patches are observed on the feet. Apart from that, you can also have peeled skin in between the toes.
- Tinea barbae generally appears on men’s face, beards and mustaches. It mainly spreads due to unhygienic practices and it is mainly found in farmers. T. verrucosum and T. mentagrophytes are two main fungi that are responsible for this disease. It causes swelling and marked crusting on the face. It can also develop itching and the red lumpy area around the face of the patient. The facial hair gets easily pulled out from the affected area.
Healing Stages: Ringworm should be treated quickly otherwise it will remain on the skin for several months. If the treatment starts quickly it will heal in a few days – usually two to four weeks. However, it mainly depends on how the skin of the patient can respond to the medicines that are given to the patient. During the healing stage, the skin of the patient become flaky and peel but there is nothing to worry as this symptom is normal and as the day progress the itching gradually lessens and finally disappears. At the time of the healing stage, it is highly recommended to clean the affected area regularly to minimize the growth of fungi in the affected area anymore. It is highly recommended to wash bedding and clothes with hot water and should also clean carpets, furniture and other things with which the patient comes in contact. Ringworms are highly contagious and as such, it is highly recommended to avoid coming in contact with the person having ringworm or use his or her clothes especially when the ringworm is at the healing stage.
Class 12 Biology Chapter 8 Ringworm
Ringworm in a contagious fungal infection caused by fungal pathogens colonizing the top layer of the skin causing it to itch and form red ring-shaped circular rashes which why it is called Ringworm. Ringworm is also recognized as dermatophytosis, dermatophyte infection, or tinea. Heat and moisture help these fungi to grow which makes them thrive in areas like in the groin or between the toes. Ringworm is of four types depending on the infected area of the body namely, Body ringworm, Athlete’s foot, jock itch and scalp ringworm. The three types of fungi which causes ringworm are Trichophyton, Microsporum and Epidermophyton. These fungi are present as spores in the soil and often spreads by direct skin-to-skin contact which can be caused by an infected person or an infected animal.
Causes of Ringworm
- The soil contains spores of fungi that causes ringworm.
- The animals also get affected by the ringworm infection which can be transferred to humans upon direct skin-to-skin contact.
- Ringworm can be acquired by an individual by using towels, clothes or even the comb of infected person.
- Ringworm in an infectious disease which can also be attained by direct skin-to-skin contact from an infected person.
Types of Ringworm
- Tinea Capitis: This type of fungal infection affects the scalp and causes dry, scaly lesions results in itching. This type of fungal infection is also known as scalp ringworm.
- Tinea Corporis: This type of fungal infection affects any part of the body causing red, itchy circular rash with clearer skin in the middle. This type of fungal infection is also known as body ringworm.
- Tinea Cruris: This type of fungal infection affects the skin folds such as those in the groin or inner thigh or buttock and is caused by heat and moisture which helps the fungi grow and thrive in this part of the body. This type of fungal infection is also known as Jock itch.
- Tinea Pedis: This type of fungal infection affects the foot region mainly between the toe nails and toes. This type of fungal infection is also identified as Athlete’s Foot.
Symptoms of Ringworm
The symptoms of the fungal infection Ringworm mainly include the following:
- A scaly, circular shaped rash with clearer skin in the middle appears on the body
- The infected area is red, itchy and a bit swollen
- Patches of skin that develops blisters in the shape of a ring
- Dry, scaly lesions on various parts of the body which is accompanied by intense itching
- In the scalp the area is itchy and the hair of the area will fall off causing small bald patch
Diagnosis of Ringworm by Doctors
- The affected area is viewed under black light because the infectious fungus glows in the black light.
- The diagnosis can also be done by preparing potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution which detects the fungi by removing the unaffected cells leaving the fungal cells aside.
- The doctors also take a small section of the affected skin and examine it under the microscope called skin biopsy. The best method to diagnose Ringworm is through fungal culture.
Treatment of Ringworm for Humans
- The treatment of Ringworm depends on the type of the fungal infection and its severity.
- The treatment for Jock itch, athlete’s foot, and ringworm of the body can all be done by doctor prescribing topical medications, such as antifungal creams, ointments, gels, or sprays.
- The treatment of Ringworm of the scalp or nails depending on the severity may require doctor to prescribe oral medications such as griseofulvin (Gris-PEG) or terbinafine.
- Home remedies can be used for mild cases of ringworm like keeping the area clean and dry and applying an over-the counter ointment might help treat the infection.
Prevention of Ringworm
By taking the following steps an individual can prevent the ringworm infection and its spread:
- Maintenance of public hygiene by keeping the area clean which is avoid fungi to grow.
- Measures for personal hygiene include keeping the body clean and dry.
- Educating and raising awareness about this fungal infection being spread through direct skin-to skin- contact from humans or animals
- Washing hands regularly after touching a pet or gardening as the fungi is present in the spores of the soil.
- Do not share personal items with others like towels, combs, clothes which can cause the spread of the infection from one person to another.
- Avoiding communal swimming pools as the fungal infection can also spread by it.
Ques. What is the recommended treatment for mild case of ringworm infection on the body?
Ans. The recommended treatment for mild case of ringworm infection on the body includes over-the-counter tropical ointments and keeping the affected area clean and dry. If the infection continues to grow it is essential to take a doctor’s consult.
Ques. How can I prevent getting Ringworm from my pet dog?
Ans. To prevent getting ringworm from the pet dog take the following steps:
- Wash the hands thoroughly after handling the pet.
- Disinfect the dog’s bedding, toys and clothes to kill any fungal spores of ringworm.
- Any pet supplies that cannot be disinfected should be discarded as the fungal spores can survive and recur.
- Keep the infected dog isolated to avoid getting infected and treat the animal wearing gloves with the medication prescribed by the Veterinarian.
- Making sure to disinfect clothes after handling the dog as the clothes can be a medium of fungal infection spread.
Ques. How long does ringworm last on clothes?
Ans. The ringworm can survive a long time on contaminated objects which can even last up to 18 months which is why it is essential to disinfect the clothes to avoid the spread of the fungal infection.
Ques. What is suitable treatment for recurring ringworm?
Ans. If the fungal infection is recurring frequently it is important to consult a doctor and take the medications prescribed on time to cure the infection. Also, it is important to understand the reason behind the recurrence.
Ques. What happens if the ringworm is left untreated?
Ans. If the ringworm is left untreated it will spread to different parts of the body and the individual can also risk spreading it to other people. Other risk factors are the loss of hair, scarring and deformed nails.
Methods and Procedure
All slides were prepared with a coverslip and sealed with clear nail polish. The accepted method for collecting spores is to take a piece of cellophane tape and lightly graze it over the culture. The tape is then placed a slide with any stain that will be used. I placed the tape on the coverslip so I wouldn’t have to try to focus through the tape. I wanted to compare this with taking whole sections. I obtained sections by scraping cultures with a needle. I then scrambled the needle in a drop of stain or milipore water and applied the coverslip. I also wanted to experiment with different stains. I compared Lactophenol cotton blue, which is a stain used with light microscopy
· KOH is used with cotton blue to help the stain adhere better to the membranes
I also compared these to spores without stain and auto-fluorescence only. I first looked at a slide prepared with a tape sample with lactophenol cotton blue. This did not fluoresce at all so I did not go any further with it, such as adding KOH. This is similar to what spores would look like under a light microscope, only with lactophenol, it would appear blue.
Large folds of skin that experience limited air circulation and sunlight are prime breeding grounds for ringworm. These areas are often damp, and the wetness increases when the body sweats and the moisture has nowhere to go. Especially if you tend to get skin infections, these folds make it easy for the fungus to grow. Ringworm that develops in folds of skin is difficult to heal because of the limited exposure to light and air.
Ringworm Transmission From Animals to People
Unlike some other infections, ringworm doesn’t only spread between people, but can also come from contact with an infected animal.
“I had a colleague who got it from holding a koala bear in Australia,” says Dr. Kassouf.
While most cases won’t come from such exotic sources, infection is a concern with household pets, who certainly rub up against human companions enough to spread ringworm to people within the house.
“Fungus is everywhere,” says Beth Goldstein, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in the Chapel Hill area and an adjunct at the University of North Carolina. “Small animals, like kittens and puppies, can get infected.”
Ringworm Look-Alikes: Nummular Eczema
Nummular eczema is another common skin condition that is often mistaken for ringworm. The word nummular comes from the Latin word “coin,” and this rash is named so because it is a coin-shaped patch of dry, scaly skin. Itching is variable, and some people also describe a burning-like sensation. Common triggers for development of nummular eczema include medications, dry or damaged skin, bug bites, , and contact with metals like nickel. Nummular eczema is aggravated by bathing, soaps, and irritants such as wool. Treatment involves limited bathing, generous use of alcohol-free moisturizers, and topical steroid creams. This can keep the patch under control, but it is not unusual for the condition to flare up again at the original site.
Occasionally patches of nummular eczema disappear when someone is taking an antibiotic for some other reason. Bacteria can invade the skin in these dry, scaly areas. If a patch of nummular eczema is stubborn, try treating with an antibiotic ointment.
How to Know If Scabies Is Gone
The chief symptom of ringworm is a red, itchy rash 1. Sometimes it takes the form of a raised ring, which gives the infection its name. Skin affected by the rash can become scaly, moist or oozy. Ringworm can cause bald patches on a person's scalp 1. If ringworm is left untreated, the itchy rash can spread, and the skin will become even more irritated and cracked, according to New York University's Langone Medical Center 1.