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Eur J Epidemiol. 1990 Sep;6(3):244-7.

Incidence of occult athlete's foot in swimmers.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Athlete's foot is a dermatophytic infection frequently found in adults. This disease is, in some cases, asymptomatic. In order to evaluate the incidence of subclinical infection, we obtained 300 toe-web samples from the fourth interdigital space of 150 regular swimmers. More over, 66 specimens from the pool area were analysed. The method used was the carpet technique described by Mariat et al. (10). The fungal isolates were identified according to standard methods. A list of epidemiological data was completed for every swimmer. In our results, 22 swimmers had positive cultures (15%), 8 of these cases had no lesions (36%). They included 7 infections with Trichophyton mentagrophytes (87.5%) and one with T. rubrum (12.5%). We observed one case with a dual infection. Only one sample from the inanimate environment was positive. This study showed a significant incidence of occult athlete's foot in swimmers. To control this endemic problem, adequate preventive measures must be taken.

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