When were the causes and treatment of tinea capitis (scalp ringworm) first identified?

Updated: Feb 21, 2020
  • Author: Marc Zachary Handler, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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The term tinea originally indicated larvae of insects that fed on clothes and books. Subsequently, it meant parasitic infestation of the skin. By the mid 16th century, the term was used to describe diseases of the hairy scalp. The term ringworm referred to skin diseases that assumed a ring form, including tinea. The causative agents of tinea infections of the beard and scalp were described first by Remak and Schönlein, then by Gruby, during the 1830s. Approximately 50 years later, in Sabouraud's dissertation, the endothrix type of tinea capitis infection was demonstrated, and it was known that multiple species of fungi cause the disease. Simple culture methods were described and treatment using x-ray epilation was reported in 1904. Effective treatment of tinea capitis by griseofulvin became available in the 1950s.

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