Ringworm on Scalp
Ringworm on Scalp Overview
Scalp ringworm (tinea capitis) is a very common infection among children throughout the world. It is not caused by a worm but by a fungus infection and is named for the ring-like or circular appearance of the infection on the skin. Fungal organisms known as dermatophytes superficially infect certain types of tissue found in hair, skin, and nails. The different types of fungal infections are named based on location and may differ in how they are treated. Certain dermatophytes forms the crusty, scaly patches commonly associated with scalp ringworm.
- In the United States, an estimated 3%-8% of the population is affected by scalp ringworm. Some people (mostly adults) can be carriers of the organism and spread it to others in the household without having symptoms. In other countries, an estimated 9.6% of people are affected, and nearly 40% can be carriers.
- Children 4-14 years of age are most likely to develop
ringworm of the scalp, although it can occasionally appear in adults and may occur in younger children.
- Scalp ringworm occurs most frequently in urban areas among people with poor
hygiene, low incomes living in overcrowded quarters, or living in warm, damp climates.
- This disease tends to be more severe in people with weakened immune systems, such as those with diabetes,
AIDS, or cancer.
- Ringworm found on the body differs from scalp ringworm and is caused by a separate organism.
Lisandro Irizarry, MD, MPH, FAAEM
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