ringworm

/ring"werrm'/, n. Pathol.
any of a number of contagious skin diseases caused by certain parasitic fungi and characterized by the formation of ring-shaped eruptive patches.
[1375-1425; late ME; see RING1, WORM]

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Superficial skin changes caused by certain fungi (see fungus) that live on the skin, feeding on keratin.

Skin responses vary from slight scaling to blistering and marked disruption of the keratin layer (depending on body area and type of fungus), usually in a ring shape. It includes athlete's foot, jock itch, and fungal infections of the body, hands, nails, and scalp. While the last is very contagious, spread of other types depends on susceptibility and predisposing factors (e.g., excessive perspiration). Ringworm is treated with medications applied to the skin or taken orally.

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      superficial skin lesions caused by a highly specialized group of fungi called dermatophytes that live and multiply on the surface of the skin and feed on keratin, the horny protein constituting the major part of the outermost layer of the skin and of the hair and nails. The fungi produce responses in the skin that vary from slight scaling to blistering and marked disruption of the keratin layer. The lesions are usually round or ring shaped and can be either dry and scaly or moist and covered with vesicles (blisters), depending on the body area and the type of fungus involved.

      Ringworm is also referred to as tinea, both names referring to the round shape of most of the lesions, similar to the larva of the clothes moth, genus Tinea. In specifying the condition, tinea is usually followed by a modifying term indicating the body area or characteristics of the lesions. Thus, ringworm of the scalp, beard, and nails is also referred to as tinea capitis, tinea barbae or tinea sycosis, and tinea unguium (also called onychomycosis), respectively; ringworm of the body, groin, hands, and feet, as tinea corporis, tinea cruris (also called jock itch), tinea manuum, and tinea pedis (athlete's foot), respectively. Tinea pedis is commonly referred to as athlete's foot, which may be of either the dry or inflammatory type. In the latter type, the infection may lie dormant much of the time and undergo occasional acute exacerbations, with the development of vesicles (blisters) affecting chiefly the skin folds between the toes. The dry type is a chronic process marked by slight redness of the skin and dry scaling that may involve the sole and sides of the foot as well as the toenails, which become thick and brittle.

      Varieties of ringworm characterized by specific skin lesions include: Oriental ringworm, Tokelau ringworm, or tinea imbricata (Latin: “overlapping like tiles”), so called because it occurs chiefly in tropical climates and consists of concentric rings of overlapping scales; crusted, or honeycomb, ringworm, also called favus, a ringworm of the scalp, characterized by the formation of yellow, cup-shaped crusts that enlarge to form honeycomb-like masses; and black dot ringworm, also a ringworm of the scalp, deriving its distinctive appearance and name from the breaking of the hairs at the scalp surface. Except for ringworm of the scalp, which tends to be highly contagious, the contraction of ringworm depends to a large extent on individual susceptibility and predisposing factors, such as excessive perspiration.

      Diagnosis of ringworm is made by observation and by microscopic examination. Treatment with topical or oral antifungal agents may be effective. Limited exposure to ultraviolet radiation may also be helpful.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ringworm — Ring worm , n. (Med.) A contagious affection of the skin due to the presence of a vegetable parasite, and forming ring shaped discolored patches covered with vesicles or powdery scales. It occurs either on the body, the face, or the scalp.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ringworm — early 15c., from RING (Cf. ring) (n.) + WORM (Cf. worm) …   Etymology dictionary

  • ringworm — ► NOUN ▪ a contagious itching skin disease occurring in small circular patches, caused by various fungi and affecting chiefly the scalp or feet …   English terms dictionary

  • ringworm — [riŋ′wʉrm΄] n. any of various contagious skin diseases caused by related varieties of fungus and characterized by itching and the formation of ring shaped, discolored patches covered with scales or vesicles …   English World dictionary

  • Ringworm — Infobox Disease Name = Ringworm Caption = Ringworm on the arm DiseasesDB = 17492 ICD10 = ICD10|B|35|4|b|35 ICD9 = ICD9|110.9 ICDO = OMIM = MedlinePlus = eMedicineSubj = emerg eMedicineTopic = 592 MeshID = D014005 Ringworm (also called serpigo) is …   Wikipedia

  • ringworm — SYN: tinea. r. of beard SYN: tinea barbae. black dot r. tinea capitis due most commonly to Trichophyton tonsurans or T. violaceum. r. of body SYN: tinea corporis. crusted r. SYN: favus. r. of foot SYN: tinea pedis. honeycomb r. SYN: favus. r. of… …   Medical dictionary

  • ringworm — tinea; n. a fungus infection of the skin, the scalp, or the nails. Ringworm is caused by the dermatophyte fungi – species of Microsporum, Trichophyton, and Epidermophyton – and also affects animals, a source of infection for humans. It can be… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • ringworm — [[t]rɪ̱ŋwɜː(r)m[/t]] N UNCOUNT Ringworm is a skin disease caused by a fungus. It produces itchy red patches on a person s or animal s skin, especially on their head and between their legs and toes. [MEDICAL] …   English dictionary

  • ringworm — noun Date: 15th century any of several contagious fungal diseases of the skin, hair, or nails of humans and domestic animals that are characterized by ring shaped discolored skin patches covered with vesicles and scales …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ringworm — (ring werm) The common name for a fungal infection of the skin, even though it is not caused by a worm and is not always ring shaped in appearance …   Dictionary of microbiology

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