Study: Resistant Ringworm in Metro Schools

KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 19 (UPI) — Treatment-resistant ringworm may be on the rise in inner-city schools, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in the bi-state Kansas City area found about 7 percent of elementary school children were infected with a form of ringworm — the scalp fungus, Trichophyton tonsurans or T. tonsurans.

“This study supports what I and many of my peers are seeing — children with scaly, itchy scalps and hair loss are prevalent in metropolitan areas,” lead author Susan Abdel-Rahman said in a statement. “If not treated, ringworm can lead to permanent hair loss, which can damage a child’s self image. There is also some evidence that it may worsen seemingly unrelated problems such as asthma and allergic rhinitis.”

Abdel-Rahman and colleagues studied 10,514 children in Kindergarten through grade 5 across 44 schools.

The study, published in Pediatrics, found T. tonsurans has learned to stay on the host and avoid eradication.

“This can be very frustrating for children who keep getting re-infected and for their parents who are doing everything they can to prevent this,” Abdel-Rahman said.

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