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Dermatology. 2005;210(1):21-5.

Molecular identification of Fusarium species in onychomycoses.

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Division des Maladies Infectieuses, Hôpital Cantonal Universitaire, Genève, Switzerland.



Fusarium species are isolated from about 3% of onychomycoses in the Swiss native population. On the basis of macroscopic characters and microscopic examination of the cultures, identification of Fusarium often remains difficult or uncertain because of variations from one isolate to another and overlapping characteristics between species.


To obtain information about the prevailing species of Fusarium collected from onychomycoses.


An analysis of the Fusarium specimens isolated in the Department of Dermatology at the University Hospital of Lausanne was conducted during a 2-year period (71 isolates). A 311-bp fragment of the gene encoding 28S rDNA was amplified by PCR and sequenced. DNA sequences were compared to those available for reference strains.


Fusarium oxysporum was the most frequently isolated species, accounting for 54% of the isolates. F. proliferatum and 4 taxons belonging to the F. solani species complex were identified with an appreciable frequency ranging from 4 to 14%.


The Fusarium species identified were the same as those known to cause disseminated fusariosis in immunocompromised patients. The presence of these Fusarium species in onychomycoses warrants that careful attention should be paid to abnormal nails before beginning immunosuppressive treatments in patients.

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