Hair and scalp mycobiota in school children in Nablus area

Ali-Shtayeh, M. S., Salameh, A-A. M., Abu-Ghdeib, S. I., & Jamous, Rana M.
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Hair and scalp mycobiota of 1389 clinically normal children aged 6-12 years attending 12 schools in the Nablus District, Palestinian Authority, was assessed on three occasions over 8-month period (October 1998-May 1999) using the hair brush technique. One hundred and one fungal species belonging to 33 genera were recovered: 6 dermatophytes, 16 dermatophyte-like keratinophilic fungi, and 79 other keratinophilic fungal species. Species varied considerably in their frequency of occurrence and abundance based on their relative importance values (RIVs). The most frequent and abundant species were: Cladosporium cladosporioides, Cl. herbarum, Penicillium chrysogenum and Aspergillus flavus, Microsporum canis, Aphanoascus fulvescence and Chrysosporum sulfureum were the most frequent and abundant species of all dermatophytes and dermatophyte-like keratinophilic fungi recovered. The most frequent and abundant dermatophytes in different communities were M. canis in rural (RIV 0.87) and urban children (0.45), and Trichophyton violaceum (1.41) in refugee camp children. Chrysosporium species were the most frequent and abundant dermatophyte-like keratinophilic fungus in children from all localities followed by Aphanoascus fulvescence. Comparable results on the frequency and abundance of human hair and scalp mycobiota component fungi were obtained based on age group and sex of children. Higher number of species was recovered in spring months (73 species) than in autumn (57) and winter (44) months. Similar occurrence pattern was also noted for dermatophyte-like keratinophilic species and dermatophytes. Higher percentages of children with moderate (11-50) and heavy (< or = 50) spore loads (7.54 and 0.73, respectively) were found in urban school children community than in rural and refugee camp school children (4.7 and 0.1, respectively). Also significantly higher light (1-10) spore load percentages were found in rural (63.67) and refugee camp (62.9) than in urban children (52.6). Of all localities, school children with light spore load comprised the highest percentage of the children examined (37.4), followed by moderate (6.13), and heavy (0.41) spore load categories. However, children with undetected spore load comprised 36.05% of all children. Spore load distribution did not show clear seasonal variations in the study period. Higher percentages of moderate and heavy spore loads were found in male children (8.72 and 0.69, respectively) than in female children (3.4 and 0.1, respectively). However, higher percentages of undetected (38.3) or light spore loads (58.4) were found in females than in males (34.04 and 56.53, respectively).