Focus on dermatophytes

Diagnosing and treating fungal nail, scalp and skin infections

The Process:

Once specimens are received in the laboratory, microscopy is performed.

An interim report is then released. Specimens are then set up on specialised agar containing antibiotics and cycloheximide to inhibit the growth of bacteria and saprophytic fungi. Cultures are incubated at 28°C for three weeks.

If microscopy is positive (M+) and no pathogen (C-) has grown in the interim, specimens are held an extra week. Infrequently, where microscopy and culture of nail scrapings is negative and the diagnosis is still suspected, nails can be examined for fungal elements using special stains.


Specimen types have been subdivided into three anatomical categories (nails, hair and skin) ...

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