Tinea kerion

Tinea kerion

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

ICD-10: B35.0.

An inflammatory fungus infection of the scalp and beard, marked by pustules and a boggy infiltration of the surrounding parts; most commonly caused by Microsporum audouinii (an anthrophilic fungal species of fungi that has caused epidemic tinea capitis in children).

Microsporum audouinii was once common throughout Europe, but is now rare in this area. However, it continues to be an important cause of tinea kerion in West Africa and is also found in parts of the United States and Latin America. M. audouinii is anthropophilic, thus it is unable to colonize animals and has no other environmental sources. Tinea kerion is generally a disease of children, and cases are rare after puberty. The mode of transmission is by infected hairs or desquamated epithelial cells. Rarely does M. audouinii transmission occur by direct contact.

Tinea kerion is a common mild infection of the scalp and hair that appears as scaly spots and patches of broken hair on the head. Tinea kerion may be passed among humans by direct contact with infected people or with contaminated objects (such as combs, pillows, and sofas). Less commonly, the fungus may be spread from infected animals (especially cats or dogs) or from the soil. Though several different types of fungus may cause Tinea kerion, they are generally known as dermatophytes.

The disease may occur in people of all ages, of all races, and of both sexes.

Tinea kerion is not dangerous. Without treatment, however, the hair loss and scaling may spread to other parts of the scalp. Some children develop a kerion, which is a boggy, tender swelling of the scalp that can drain pus. Kerions are an allergic reaction to the fungus and may require additional treatment with an oral steroid. Hair regrowth is normal after treatment but will take 6 to 12 months. In the meantime, your child can wear a hat or scarf to hide the bald areas.


The signs and symptoms may include:

    Round patches of hair loss that slowly increase in size.

  • Scaling (flaking) of the scalp.

  • Yellow crusts on scalp.

  • Hairs broken close to scalp surface creating dark or blond “dots.”

  • Mild itching of the scalp.


    Colony morphology (texture andcolor), rate of growth, and microscopic morphology aide inthe identification of the dermatophyte species.

  • Clinical diagnosis alone is unreliable. There is a wide range of clinical presentations and it can, particularly in mild cases, be very difficult to detect. Infection in the hair and scalp skin is associated with symptoms and signs of inflammation and hair loss (mainly in prepubertal children). The main signs are scaling and hair loss but acute inflammation with erythema and pustule formation can occur.

  • Laboratory methods should be used wherever possible to confirm the diagnosis.

  • The dermatophytes that cause tinea kerion can affect nails and skin in other parts of the body (only very rarely the feet or groins).

  • Children or adults who have neither signs nor symptoms of infection, but from whose scalps causative fungi can be grown, are described as “carriers”.


    Oral therapy with griseofulvin along with a topical azole shampoo or cream are recommended. Retreatment of children may be necessary.

  • Itraconazole and fluconazole are alternatives, particularly with Microsporum spp. infections.

  • Topical treatment (usually selenium sulphide or ketoconazole shampoo but, occasionally, also topical antifungals like terbinafine cream) is recommended at least twice-weekly during the first two weeks of therapy.

  • Children on treatment should NOT be kept off school unless their clinical condition warrants it

Risk and benefits of the drugs must be discussed with your physician.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

Reference and Source are from:

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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