II. Epidemiology

  1. Children most often affected (esp. ages 4-14 years)

III. Risk Factors

  1. Household exposure
  2. Low socioeconomic groups

IV. Causes

  1. Trichophyton tonsurans (90-95% of U.S. cases)
  2. Microsporum species from dogs and cats (fluoresce blue-green under wood's lamp)
    1. Microsporum canis
    2. Microsporum audouinii

V. Pathophysiology: Contagious Spread

  1. Easily spread by fomites or hair
    1. Contaminated hats, brushes or barber instruments
    2. Infectious fungal particles are viable on fomites for months
  2. Person to Person Spread
    1. Non-Inflammatory Tinea Capitis
    2. Black dot Ringworm
  3. Spread from cats, dogs, and soil
    1. Inflammatory Tinea Capitis

VII. Symptoms

  1. Pruritus (especially in Inflammatory Tinea Capitis)

VIII. Signs

  1. General findings
    1. Circumscribed areas of Alopecia
    2. Boggy, raised lesion
      1. Rim of erythema (variable)
      2. Fine scale
    3. Microsporum lesions fluoresce under Wood's Lamp
      1. Trichophyton (92% of cases) does not fluoresce
      2. Hence most cases of Tinea Capitis do not fluoresce
  2. Classic presentation strongly suggests Tinea Capitis
    1. Pruritus
    2. Posterior Cervical Lymphadenopathy (absent in Alopecia)
    3. Alopecia
    4. Scaling
    5. Hubbard (1999) Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 153(11): 1150-3 [PubMed]
  3. Non-inflammatory (epidemic) Tinea Capitis
    1. Hair gray or lusterless
    2. Hair breaks above scalp
    3. Wood's Lamp: Fluorescent (Microsporum species)
  4. Inflammatory Tinea Capitis
    1. Scalp red with Pustules or with painful, red, boggy Plaque (kerion)
      1. Psoriasis appearance, but hairs are broken off
      2. Purulent drainage
    2. Fever
    3. Posterior Cervical Lymphadenopathy
    4. Wood's Lamp: Fluorescent (Microsporum species)
  5. Black dot Ringworm
    1. Hair breaks off at skin level
      1. Scalp studded with tiny black dots
    2. Wood's Lamp: Not Fluorescent

IX. Diagnosis: Criteria for empiric treatment

  1. Criteria: Three or more of the following present
    1. Scalp Scaling
    2. Alopecia
    3. Occipital adenopathy
    4. Scalp Pruritus
  2. Interpretation
    1. Findings highly suggestive of Tinea Capitis in child
    2. Test Sensitivity: 92% (but small study)
    3. Justifies empiric Tinea Capitis therapy
  3. References
    1. Hubbard (1999) Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 153:1150-3 [PubMed]

X. Complications: Kerion

  1. Allergic sensitization to fungus
  2. Results in Alopecia if untreated

XI. Labs

  1. Potassium Hydroxide (KOH)
    1. Sample active border of inflamed patch
  2. Hair Fungal Culture
    1. Typically requires 6 weeks for results

XII. Management

  1. General
    1. Examine household contacts (and treat if Tinea Capitis present)
    2. Most Antifungal Medications require lab monitoring
      1. See specific agents for details
    3. Confirm the diagnosis first with Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) preparation and Fungal Culture
      1. Kerion treatment should be started immediately while awaiting culture results
      2. Children with classic findings (e.g. Pruritus, Scaling, Alopecia, adenopathy) may be treated empirically
  2. First Line: Terbinafine
    1. Adult (and child >40 kg): 250 mg orally daily for 2-4 weeks
    2. Child 20-40 kg: 125 mg (up to 187.5 mg) orally daily for 2 weeks
    3. Child <20 kg: 62.5 mg (up to 125 mg) orally daily for 2 weeks
    4. Trichophyton tonsurans may require 2-4 weeks of treatment
    5. Microsporum canis may require 4-8 weeks of treatment
  3. Alternative Agents
    1. Fluconazole
      1. Daily: 6 mg/kg (up to 150 mg) daily for 3-6 weeks
      2. Weekly: 6 mg/kg (up to 150 mg) each week for 8-12 weeks
    2. Itraconazole
      1. Daily
        1. Solution 3 mg/kg/day up to 500 mg/day for 4-6 weeks
        2. Capsules 5 mg/kg/day up to 500 mg/day for 4-6 weeks
      2. Monthly
        1. Solution 3 mg/kg/day up to 500 mg/day, daily for one week per month for 2-3 months
        2. Capsules 5 mg/kg/day up to 500 mg/day, daily for one week per month for 2-3 months
    3. Griseofulvin microsize (Griseofulvin V)
      1. Ultrasize preparations are also available but are significantly more expensive
      2. Adults: 500 mg (up to 1 g) orally daily for 6-8 weeks
      3. Child: 10-20 mg/kg/day (up to 20-25 mg/kg/day, maximum 1 g/day) until Hair Growth (typically 8 weeks)
      4. Less effective for Trichophyton tonsurans (accounts for most cases of U.S. Tinea Capitis)
      5. May be more effective for microsporum species
  4. Concurrent Topical Antifungal reduces transmission
    1. May also be used in asymptomatic household contacts
    2. Apply for 5 minutes 2-3 times each week
    3. Agents
      1. Selenium Sulfate (2.5%) or
      2. Topical Ketoconazole or
      3. Povidone Iodine lotion or Shampoo
  5. Kerion
    1. Antifungal agent AND
    2. Corticosteroid
      1. Prednisone 1 mg/kg/day or
      2. Topical triamcinolone 0.1% Cream

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Ontology: Tinea Capitis (C0040250)

Definition (MSH) Ringworm of the scalp and associated hair mainly caused by species of MICROSPORUM; TRICHOPHYTON; and EPIDERMOPHYTON, which may occasionally involve the eyebrows and eyelashes.
Concepts Disease or Syndrome (T047)
MSH D014006
ICD10 B35.0
SnomedCT 154396008, 5441008
English Tinea Capitis, tinea capitis (diagnosis), tinea capitis, Ringworm of scalp, Scalp tinea, Scalp ringworm, Tinea Capitis [Disease/Finding], capitis tinea, scalp tinea, ringworm of scalp, scalp ringworm, ringworm scalp, ringworm of the scalp, black dot ringworm, ringworms scalp, tinea scalp, Profunda Capitides, Trichophytia, Trichophytia Profunda Barbae, Trichophytia Profunda Capitides, Capitis Profunda, Tinea, Profunda, Tinea Capitis, Capitides, Trichophytia Profunda, Profunda Barbae, Trichophytia, Trichophytia Profunda Capitis, Barbae, Trichophytia Profunda, Profunda Capitis, Trichophytia, Capitis, Trichophytia Profunda, Tinea Capitis Profunda, Capitis Profundas, Tinea, Profundas, Tinea Capitis, Tinea Capitis Profundas, Scalp ringworm (disorder), Tinea capitis, Ringworm of the scalp, Black dot ringworm, Dermatophytosis of scalp, Tinea of scalp, Tinea capitis (disorder), black dot; ringworm, capitis; dermatophytosis, capitis; tinea, dermatophytosis; capitis, dermatophytosis; scalp, ringworm; black dot, ringworm; scalp, scalp; dermatophytosis, scalp; ringworm, scalp; tinea, tinea; capitis, tinea; scalp
Italian Dermatofitosi del cuoio capelluto, Tigna del cuoio capelluto, Tigna del capo, Tigna capitis
Dutch dermatofytose van hoofdhuid, hoofdhuidtinea, dauwworm van hoofdhuid, black dot; ringworm, capitis; dermatofytose, capitis; tinea, dermatofytose; capitis, dermatofytose; schedelhuid, ringworm; black dot, ringworm; schedelhuid, schedelhuid; dermatofytose, schedelhuid; ringworm, schedelhuid; tinea, tinea; capitis, tinea; schedelhuid, tinea capitis, Tinea capitis
French Dermatophytose du cuir chevelu, Teignes du cuir chevelu, Trichophytie du cuir chevelu, Teigne du cuir chevelu, Teigne de la tête, Teigne tondante, Tinea capitis
German Ringwurm der Kopfhaut, Dermatophytose der Kopfhaut, Tinea capitis
Portuguese Tinha do couro cabeludo, Dermatofitose do couro cabeludo, Tinha da Cabeça, Quérion, Kérion, Kérion Celsi, Tinha da cabeça, Tinha do Couro Cabeludo
Spanish Tiña del cuero cabelludo, Dermatofitosis de cuero cabelludo, sérpigo del cuero cabelludo, Querión, tiña de la cabeza (trastorno), tiña de la cabeza, tiña del cuero cabelludo, Tiña de la cabeza, Tiña del Cuero Cabelludo
Japanese 頭皮皮膚糸状菌症, 頭部白癬, 頭皮白癬, トウヒヒフシジョウキンショウ, トウブハクセン, トウヒハクセン
Swedish Ringorm i hårbotten
Czech tinea capitis, Tinea capitis, Dermatofytóza pokožky hlavy, Plísňové onemocnění vlasaté části hlavy
Finnish Pälvisilsa
Croatian Not Translated[Tinea Capitis]
Polish Grzybica owłosionej skóry głowy, Grzybica strzygąca owłosionej skóry głowy
Hungarian Tinea capitis, Hajas fejbőr bőrgombája, Hajas fejbőr trichophytosis, Hajas fejbőr dermatophytosisa
Norwegian Hodebunnssopp, Hodebunnsringorm, Sopp i hodebunnen, Tinea capitis