Fungi are numerous, ubiquitous, and diverse in their adaptations. Among thousands of fungal species are perhaps 100 to 200 species that regularly infect uncompromised humans and cause either superficial skin or mucous membrane infections, subcutaneous infection, or so-called “deep,” internal or visceral infection. Dermatophytes constitute a group of about 40 fungal species that are members of the Trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton genera and cause superficial infections called dermatophytoses, ringworm, or tinea. The latter term is qualified by designation of the involved body area (eg, tinea capitis is tinea of the scalp). Dermatophytes invade keratin, the protein that forms the outermost epidermis, the nails, and hair. Tineas are among the most frequent reasons for visits to the pediatrician.

Dermatophyte infection of the scalp (tinea capitis) is very common during childhood, as is infection of the general body surface (tinea corporis). Dermatophyte infection of the feet (tinea pedis) is much less...

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