Fungal infections

The common fungal infections of the skin are dermatophytosis or "ringworm", superficial candidiasis, and Malassezia infections. There are two growth forms of fungi, moulds, and yeasts. Mould fungi produce thread-like hyphae that comprise chains of cells. In dermatophyte fungal infection of the skin, hair, and nails these hyphae invade keratin and are seen on microscopic examination of skin, hair, or nails from infected tissues. Vegetative spores (conidia) develop in culture, and their distinctive shape helps to identify the different species. Skin scrapings or clippings from infected nails can be easily taken and should always be sent to the laboratory for mycological examination and culture in any patient suspected of having a fungal infection.

In yeast infections such as those due to candida, the fungal cells are individual and separate after cell division by a process called budding. In systemic, or deep, fungal infections subcutaneous on deep visceral structures are attacked. However skin involvement can also occur following blood stream dissemination and such lesions may provide a clue to the diagnosis.

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