Ringworm is a fungal infection affecting mostly children in North America. Recently there is an increase in the number of cases affected by ringworm infections. It is a highly contagious skin infection. Scalp ringworm result in a number of varied symptoms such as scaly scalp and hair loss which can be permanent if left untreated. Usually they are transmitted by household pets but in rare occasions it is passed easily between people.
Statistics by the British Skin Foundation has reported a sudden increase in the disease in some areas such as London, Birmingham and Bristol. A new organism called Trichophyton tonsurans has emerged which spreads directly between humans causing ringworm infections. Experts say that the fungal infection spreads among schoolchildren and family members by hair-styling methods such as braiding, head shaving and certain hair oils. It is interesting to note that rates are particularly high among children of Afro-Caribbean origin.
Dr Colin Holden, president elect of the British Association of Dermatologists, said that Trichophyton tonsurans accounted for around 90% of cases. The only way out is to identify the source, early diagnosis and prompt treatment. It results in severe flaking, loss of hair which affects the child emotionally. Early detection is particularly of great help as it can be treated by oral medication, shampoo and a cream. Director of the British Skin Foundation (BSF) Matthew Patey said that lot of such skin infections are on the rise and the exact reason for it is still unknown.