How is tinea capitis (scalp ringworm) diagnosed?

Updated: Feb 21, 2020
  • Author: Marc Zachary Handler, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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T tonsurans is the most common pathogen causing tinea capitis in the United States. As T tonsurans is an endothrix, its spores remain inside the hair shaft and do not fluoresce at Wood lamp examination. Thus, diagnosis should be made with mycological analysis by scraping scale from the scalp and sending it to the laboratory for confirmation of diagnosis. As M canis and M audouinii do exist in the United States, as with other species that cause tinea capitis, it is suggested to perform a Wood lamp examination, evaluating for an ectothrix infection of the hairs. If positive, the hairs fluoresce. [14]

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