Statistics gathered at the Medical University of South Carolina from 1973 to 1978 indicate a dramatic change in the etiologic agents of tinea capitis in Charleston since the 1950s. The preponderant agent is now Trichophyton tonsurans, which produces lesions that are not fluorescent in a Wood's lamp examination (long-wave ultraviolet). Trichophyton tonsurans caused 90.6% of 265 culture-proved cases of tinea capitis in the 1970s, but in the 1950s it was responsible for only 1.6% of 378 cases. The study emphasizes that cultures are necessary because the increase in nonfluorescent tinea capitis throughout the United States presents unsuspected diagnostic problems to physicians who are not aware of the change in etiologic agents.
(JAMA 242:1765-1767, 1979)