Onychomycosis is no longer a rare finding in children

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SummaryOnychomycosis was considered uncommon in children. This survey was carried out to estimate the frequency of fungal nail infections in children and adolescents (0–18 years of age) attending our clinic in the last decade and gain more insight into the aetiology and clinics of this entity in the paediatric age group. This study is based on data obtained from 2320 children and adolescents suspected of superficial fungal infection. Onychomycosis was diagnosed in 99 cases, representing 19.8% of all mycologically confirmed superficial mycoses (500 cases) in our material. Fingernail onychomycosis was recognized in 52 (10.4%) cases; children under 3 years of age were predominantly involved. Candida albicans was the most common isolated pathogen. Toenail onychomycosis concerned 47 (9,4%) patients; the incidence increased steadily with increasing age. Trichophyton rubrum was the most common aetiological agent with respect to toenail infection followed by T. mentagrophytes var. interdigitale and T. mentagrophytes var. granulosum. The majority of fungal nail infections were characterized clinically by distal and lateral subungual onychomycosis. The growing trend towards the frequency of toenail and fingernail onychomycosis in children and adolescents was found in the last decade in north Poland. The results of our study show that onychomycosis in prepubertal children is not exceptional and should be considered in differential diagnosis of nail plate disorders.

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