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Black yeast‐like fungi in skin and nail: it probably matters

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Black yeast‐like fungi are rarely reported from superficial infections. We noticed a consistent prevalence of these organisms as single isolations from mycological routine specimens. To investigate the prevalence of black yeast‐like fungi in skin, hair and nail specimens and to discuss the probability of these species to be involved in disease. Slow‐growing black yeast‐like fungi in routine specimens were prospectively collected and identified. A questionnaire regarding patient information was sent to physicians regarding black yeast‐like fungus positive patients. A total of 20 746 dermatological specimens were examined by culture. Black yeast‐like fungi accounted for 2.2% (n = 108) of the positive cultures. Only 31.0% of the samples, culture positive for black yeast‐like fungi were direct microscopy positive when compared with overall 68.8% of the culture positive specimens. The most prevalent species were Phialophora europaea (n = 29), Coniosporium epidermidis (n = 12), Ochroconis cf. humicola (n = 6) and Cladophialophora boppii (n = 4). These are not common saprobes and thus less likely to be coincidental colonizers. In 10/30 cases, discolouration of nail/skin had been noticed. A limited number of black yeast‐like fungi were repeatedly isolated from routine specimens suggesting that they may play a role in superficial infections or as colonizers.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures Fungal Biodiversity Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands 2: Unit of Mycology and Parasitology, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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