Tinea capitis (TC) is a common superficial fungal infection seen predominantly in children. The etiological factors vary from one region to the other. The clinical and microbiological characteristics of the same were studied in patients up to the age of 12 years seen at a pediatric superspeciality hospital in New Delhi, India. Aims:
To delineate the various patterns of TC observed in North India and to assess for any correlation between the clinical, microscopic and microbiologic findings in the patients seen. Also, to identify the common fungal species responsible for producing TC in North India. Methods:
Clinical morphology and KOH findings were studied in 214 patients with the suspected diagnosis of TC. Fungal culture were also performed for all the cases. An attempt was made to evaluate any correlation among the clinical, microscopic and etiological findings. The epidemiological factors associated with the disease were also assessed. Results:
TC was found to be most common in the 8-10-year age group, with noninflmmatory TC being the more common type (56.5%). A mixed morphological pattern was recorded in 10% of the cases. Microscopic examination revealed an endothrix pattern of hair invasion to be more common (41.5% cases). Again, 8.8% of the cases showed foci of both endothrix and ectothrix pattern of invasion simultaneously. Trichophyton violaceum
was the most common fungal species isolated. Conclusions:
In the present study, clinical morphology or KOH findings were not found to be clearly or exclusively predictive of the species involved. There was a fair degree of overlap in the clinical or microscopic patterns produced by the fungal species. Mixed patterns were observed both on clinical examination as well as on KOH examination. However, none of the specimens grew more than one fungal species.