Microsporum Canis is Common Culprit
Scalp fungal infections, also known as "tinea capitis", can be acquired from human to human transmission, or from animals or soil. In different areas of the world, the main agent causing tinea capitis differs.
The family pet is one potential source. Dogs, cats, and guinea pigs can transmit infection - mostly among children. Any child with suspected tinea capitis should have a skin scraping to determine the infective agent. Is the infection coming from another child? a pet? the soil? Treatments can be differ slightly depending on the cause.
A infective dermatophyte fungus known as Microsporum canis is the most common fungal agent transmitted by dogs. Even if the dog has no signs of skin or fur problems, transmission to humans can still take place.
In some areas of Europe, Microsporum canis is the number one cause of tinea capitis. In North America, tinea capitis in children is most often caused by another fungus known as Trichophyton tonsurans. Some Microsporum canis infections in children have the potential to be highly inflammatory and can cause discomfort and pain. Rapid treatment with oral antifungal agents is needed to prevent permanent scarring in children. Topical antifungals and topical antifungal shampoos are not effective. Oral agents are mandatory.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887