Superficial fungal infections

Lancet. 2004;364(9440):1173-82. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(04)17107-9.


Superficial fungal infections arise from a pathogen that is restricted to the stratum corneum, with little or no tissue reaction. In this Seminar, three types of infection will be covered: tinea versicolor, piedra, and tinea nigra. Tinea versicolor is common worldwide and is caused by Malassezia spp, which are human saprophytes that sometimes switch from yeast to pathogenic mycelial form. Malassezia furfur, Malassezia globosa, and Malassezia sympodialis are most closely linked to tinea versicolor. White and black piedra are both common in tropical regions of the world; white piedra is also endemic in temperate climates. Black piedra is caused by Piedraia hortae; white piedra is due to pathogenic species of the Trichosporon genus. Tinea nigra is also common in tropical areas and has been confused with melanoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Exophiala*
  • Humans
  • Piedra* / diagnosis
  • Piedra* / drug therapy
  • Piedra* / microbiology
  • Tinea Versicolor* / diagnosis
  • Tinea Versicolor* / drug therapy
  • Tinea Versicolor* / microbiology
  • Tinea* / diagnosis
  • Tinea* / drug therapy
  • Tinea* / microbiology