Tinea capitis: A single-institution retrospective review from 2010 to 2015

Cuong V. Nguyen*, Sigrid Collier, Ashley H. Merten, Sheilagh M. Maguiness, Kristen P. Hook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background/Objective: Tinea capitis is a common infection of scalp hair in children. The prevalent etiologic organism has changed significantly over time, which may reflect the complex interaction of environmental factors, genetic predisposition, and movement of populations. We evaluate the prevalence of different infectious organisms causing tinea capitis and describe the clinical characteristics. Methods: A retrospective chart review of patients diagnosed with tinea capitis with tissue culture confirmation, who were seen in pediatric dermatology at a tertiary care center from 2010 to 2015. Patient demographics, culture data, and clinical characteristics were evaluated. Inflammatory pattern, characterized by presence of pustules, bogginess, or lymphadenopathy, was noted. Results: Forty-six patients with culture-positive tinea capitis were identified. In the 18 (42.9%) patients who were infected with either Trichophyton violaceum or Trichophyton soudanenese, all were of African ethnicity. In contrast, Trichophyton tonsurans was identified in a minority of African patients (3.8%), revealing a statistically significant difference between ethnicity and infective species (P-value < 0.001). T tonsurans was significantly more likely than T violaceum to exhibit an inflammatory pattern (68% vs 22%, P value < 0.027). Conclusions: While T tonsurans remained the most common cause of tinea capitis, T violaceum and T soudanense have increased in prevalence. As these latter agents are less inflammatory, clinical diagnosis may be delayed. Studying changes in the infectious cause of tinea capitis can help us create a snapshot to better understand the evolution of our population make-up, allowing us to provide crucial quality health care to all.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-310
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric dermatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Tinea capitis
  • fungal infection
  • scalp disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Dermatology


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