ringworm n : infections of the skin or nails caused by fungi and appearing as itching circular patches [syn: tinea, roundworm]
- A contagious fungal affliction of the skin, characterised by ring-shaped discoloured patches, covered by vesicles or scales.
- Korean: 버짐 (beojim)
Ringworm, also known as "Tinea", is an infection of the skin, characterized by a reddish to brownish raised or bumpy patch of skin that may be lighter in the center, giving the appearance of a 'ring'. Contrary to its name, ringworm is not caused by a worm but by parasitic fungi (Dermatophytosis). It can exist anywhere on the body.
Fungi are organisms that survive by eating plant or animal material, those that cause parasitic infection (dermatophytes) feed on keratin, the material found in the outer layer of skin, hair, and nails. These fungi thrive best on skin that is moist, hot, and hidden from the light. Together with the other dermatophytosis, up to 20 percent of the population has one of these infections at any given moment.
Ringworm is very common, especially in children, and may be spread by skin-to-skin contact, as well as via contact with contaminated items such as hairbrushes or through the use of the same toilet seat as an infected individual. Ringworm spreads readily, as those infected are contagious even before they show symptoms of the disease. Participants in contact sports such as wrestling have a risk of contracting the fungal infection through skin-to-skin contact.
Ringworm is mildly contagious. Ringworm is also a common infection in domestic animals, especially farm animals, dogs and cats and even small pets like hamsters or guinea pigs. Humans can contract ringworm from these animals as humans are in close contact with them. Chickens may also be a source, due to the dirty conditions in which many poultry live and in which ringworm may thrive. Ringworm can also be caught from other humans, both by direct contact and by prolonged contact with flakes of shed skin (from sharing clothes or from house dust, for instance).
To catch ringworm, you have to be exposed to it and you have to be susceptible. Some people are much more susceptible than others. Those with eczema or other skin problems get ringworm more easily because the protective barrier of the skin's outer layer is less intact. Children are more susceptible before puberty. Some people are genetically predisposed, and can get it easily throughout life.
Symptoms and diagnosisThe best known sign of ringworm in people is the appearance of two or more red raised itchy patches with defined edges, not unlike the herald rash of Pityriasis rosea. These patches are often lighter in the center, taking on the appearance of a ring with hyperpigmentation around the circumference caused by an increase in melanin. If the infected area involves the scalp or beard area, then bald patches may become evident. The affected area may become itchy for periods of time.
- The Merck Manual, Twelfth Edition, 1972, p. 1451
ringworm in German: Hautpilz
ringworm in Spanish: Tiña
ringworm in French: Teigne (maladie)
ringworm in Indonesian: Kurap
ringworm in Icelandic: Hringskyrfi
ringworm in Dutch: Ringworm (schimmel)
ringworm in Japanese: 白癬
ringworm in Portuguese: Dermatofitose
ringworm in Swedish: Ringorm
ringworm in Urdu: داد
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