The epidemiology of fungal infections of the nails, or onychomycosis, is only partially known since it is a combination of different factors which include, among others, the etiological agent, the clinical form of the infection, the patient's background, other parameters related to the physiology and ecology of the causative fungi, and even the habits of the population. This chapter is a review of the data available on the most frequent etiological agents as well as several occasional ones, and includes the methods used for a more accurate diagnosis. Although there is no doubting the importance of dermatophyte fungi, especially Trichophyton rubrum, as the causative agents of tinea unguium, the etiological role of some keratinophilic yeasts and moulds is more controversial as they are so-called opportunistic agents of onychomycosis. To a large extent the clinical forms of onychomycosis refer to a particular fungus or group of fungi, some of which, like Scytalidium/Hendersonula for example, are only found in certain regions with a warm climate. Although there is the belief that onychomycosis has increased its presence, especially in developed countries, the data available on its prevalence is limited and varies considerably according to the origin of the publication and the study method. Consideration is given to the factors favouring infection, the low incidence of this mycosis among the younger age group, and the social and economic impact of onychomycosis in developed countries.
|Journal||Revista Iberoamericana de Micologia|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2000|
- Keratinophilic fungi
- Nail infection
- Tinea unguium