Skin Diseases Caused by Fungi

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Diseases caused by fungi are called mycoses. Earlier in this chapter, we mentioned the role of normal flora yeast of the genus Malassezia in causing mild skin diseases, such as tinea versicolor. Other fungi are responsible for more serious infections of the skin, although even in these cases the condition of the host's defenses against infection is often crucial. The yeast Candida albicans (figure 22.26) may live harmlessly among the normal flora of the skin, but in some people it invades the deep layers of the skin and subcutaneous tissues. In many people with candidal skin infections, no precise cause for the invasion can be determined. Certain molds

Skin Disease
(a)
Candida Albicans Cytological

Figure 22.26 Candida albicans (a) Causing a diaper rash; (b) Gram stain of pus showing C. albicans yeast forms and filamentous forms called pseudohyphae.

Figure 22.26 Candida albicans (a) Causing a diaper rash; (b) Gram stain of pus showing C. albicans yeast forms and filamentous forms called pseudohyphae.

22.5 Skin Diseases Caused by Fungi 557

also cause cutaneous mycoses, but they are not as likely as C. albicans to invade the deep skin layers.

Superficial Cutaneous Mycoses

Certain species of molds can invade hair, nails, and the keratinized portion of the skin. The resulting mycoses have colorful names such as jock itch, athlete's foot, and ringworm, and more traditional latinized names that describe their location: tinea capitis—scalp, tinea barbae—beard, tinea axillaris—armpit, tinea corporis—body, tinea cruris—groin, and tinea pedis—feet, to list a few. Tinea just means "worm," which probably reflects early ideas about the cause.

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