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Infectious disorders

Fungi - Superficial fungal infections

Reviewer: Nat Pernick, M.D., PathologyOutlines.com, Inc. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 16 July 2011, last major update July 2011
Copyright: (c) 2002-2011, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Due to pathogens restricted to the stratum corneum, with little or no tissue reaction
● Scalp and beard lesions may have superimposed bacterial folliculitis / perifolliculitis
● Superfical fungal infections may also be found on neoplastic skin lesions
● Usually caused by dermatophytes; in children, usually due to Trichophyton, Microsporum and Epidermophyton (Am Fam Physician 2008;77:1415)
Kerion celsi: superimposed bacterial folliculitis on tinea of scalp
Majocchi’s granuloma: nodular granulomatous perifolliculitis; inflammation of dermis and subcutis by dermatophytes, usually Trichophyton rubrum
Sycosis barbae: tinera barbae with superimposed bacterial follicultis
Tinea barbae: infection of beard area of adult men
Tinea capitis: infection causing hairless patches of skin in scalp, usually in children
Tinea corporis: infection of trunk of children and adults, associated with excessive heat and humidity; scaly red annular plaques (“ringworm”)
Tinea cruris: "jock itch", infection of inguinal area of obese men during warm weather
Tinea pedis: "athletes foot", infection causing diffuse erythema and scaling, initially in web spaces, often with bacterial superinfection

Diagnosis / microbiology images

Epidermophyton floccosum

Microsporum audouinii

Trichophyton tonsurans

Clinical images

Kerion celsi

Majocchi’s granuloma

Tinea barbae

Tinea capitis

Tinea corporis: well-demarcated margins and diffuse erythema

Tinea cruris

Tinea pedis

Micro description

● Cellulitis, abscesses, pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia, fungal spores and hyphae in horny cell layer and near hair shafts
● Spores, hyphae and neutrophils usually are present in stratum corneum or hair shafts
● Variable intercellular epidermal edema, dermal inflammation

Micro images

Majocchi’s granuloma

Tinea capitis

Positive stains


End of Skin-nontumor / Clinical Dermatology > Infectious disorders > Fungi - Superficial fungal infections

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