Epidemiologic trends in pediatric tinea capitis: a population-based study from Kaiser Permanente Northern California

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013 Dec;69(6):916-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2013.08.031. Epub 2013 Oct 3.


Background: Epidemic levels of tinea capitis (TC) have previously been reported in children.

Objective: We sought to determine new epidemiologic trends for TC among northern California children from 1998 through 2007.

Methods: Annual incidence of TC was based on diagnosis code or first-time antifungal prescriptions in all children up to age 15 years at Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

Results: An average of 672,373 children/y met the inclusion criteria. Trend analyses showed decreases in TC by diagnosis code and by prescriptions (73.7% and 23.7%, respectively). Girls had lower incidence rates than boys by diagnosis (111.9 vs 146.4, P < .001 for 1998, and 27.9 vs 39.9, P < .001 for 2007). African Americans had the highest incidence rates by diagnosis (447.3 in 1998 and 184.1 in 2007) compared with other ethnic groups. Trichophyton tonsurans was the predominant organism (89.4% of all positive fungal cultures in 1998 and 91.8% in 2007). Prescriptions for griseofulvin declined, whereas the prescriptions for other antifungals increased.

Limitations: This was a retrospective study.

Conclusions: In this cohort, there was a significant decrease in incidence of TC over the study period. Trichophyton tonsurans continued to be the predominant organism. These trends may be a result of improved education, recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of TC and increased use of new oral antifungals.

Keywords: ICD-9-CM; International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification; KPNC; Kaiser Permanente Northern California; TC; Trichophyton tonsurans; epidemiology; incidence; pediatric; tinea capitis; trends.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • California / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Insurance, Health
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tinea Capitis / epidemiology*