Question: My friend has been to a dermatologist and a family Doctor due to the fact that she was losing hair in large areas of the scalp. I told her maybe it was Ringworm (Tinea Capitis) as I have seen it before in a class I took in Cosmetology. Well the Dermatologist finally told her to stop taking the Griseofulvin that the GP had her on and said it was Alopecia areata. She continued to lose large amounts of hair and is still losing it! Her pathology came back as Fusarium species. So…where did this come from and is it contagious? How is it treated? She was concerned as she lives in a recreational vehicle (RV) that she may have a problem in there or from her boyfriend who lives in a place where the water is really stinky and she has showered there. Please let me know your take on this as the Dermatologist said the water would not affect hair loss but from what I’m reading this fungus can be in water pipes or damp places. Thank you for your time!
Answer: Tinea capitis (TC) or scalp ringworm is a common dermatophyte infection of the scalp in children. The Fusarium species isolated from your friend’s scalp is highly unlikely the primary cause of the hair loss. Fungi that are well documented as causes of hair loss are species of Trichophyton and Microsporum. They cause a condition referred to as tinea capitis. Although primarily affecting children between the ages of three and seven years of age, tinea capitis also afflicts adults and more commonly women than men. Most cases of tinea capitis are caused by Trichophyton tonsurans, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Trichophyton violaceum, and Trichophyton verrucosum.
Tinea capitis is spread via infected persons, shed infected hairs, animal vectors, and fomites.