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Fungal infections of the skin and nails are a common global problem. The high prevalence of superficial mycotic infections shows that 20–25% of the world's population has skin mycoses, making these one of the most frequent forms of infection. Pathogens responsible for skin mycoses are primarily anthropophilic and zoophilic dermatophytes from the genera Trichophyton (T.), Microsporum (M.) and Epidermophyton (E.). There appears to be considerable inter- and intra-continental variability in the global incidence of these fungal infections. Trichophyton rubrum, T. interdigitale (mentagrophytes var. interdigitale), M. canis, M. audouinii, T. tonsurans and T. verrucosum are the most common, but the attack rates and incidence of specific mycoses can vary widely. Local socio-economic conditions and cultural practices can also influence the prevalence of a particular infection in a given area. For example, tinea pedis (athlete's foot) is more prevalent in developed countries than in emerging economies and is likely to be caused by the anthropophilic germ T. rubrum. In poorer countries, scalp infections (tinea capitis) caused by T. soudanense or M. audouinii are more prevalent. This review summarises current epidemiological trends for fungal infections and focuses on dermatomycosis of glabrous skin on different continents.