Ringworm may be misdiagnosed half the time

The most common type of fungal infection for the hair, nails and skin may be regularly misdiagnosed, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Dermatophyte infections, often referred to as ringworm, affect an estimated 25 percent of the world's population, accounting for 51 million outpatient visits over the last decade in the U.S.

For the study, researchers surveyed dermatologists at the 2016 Orlando (Fla.) Dermatology Aesthetic & Clinical Conference. Dermatologists were asked to anonymously review 13 clinical images and assess the images for fungal skin infection. Most of the images were only classified accurately 50 percent of the time, with only one case identified appropriately at 90 percent of the time.

"It is crucial to push for proper and continued medical education on dermatophyte and other fungal skin infections to minimize misdiagnoses and ultimately curb disease impact," said Adam Friedman, MD, one of the study's authors and a dermatologist with GW and Therapeutics Clinical Research in San Diego. "Secondary syphilis, annular psoriasis and pityriasis rosea are among a few inflammatory skin diseases that mimic dermatophyte infections ... however, knowledge and training of bedside diagnostic techniques like potassium hydroxide preps during residency and beyond can combat misdiagnosis."

More articles on infection control: 
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1.2M gain access to HIV treatment in 2016 
31 low-performing teaching hospitals for central-line infection prevention

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