Fungal infections of the feet in patients with erysipelas of the lower limb: is it a significant clinical problem?

Abstract

Background

Erysipelas is a bacterial infection of the superficial layers of the skin usually caused by Group A Streptococci, often seen in clinical practice. Fungal infections of the feet and elderly age are some of the most significant risk factors for the infection. The aim of the study was to evaluate the frequency of fungal infections from different regions of the feet in patients with erysipelas.

Methods

56 patients with clinically diagnosed erysipelas and 56 healthy individuals were clinically examined and tested for fungal infection in three locations: toenails, interdigital space, and soles. The collected samples were evaluated under a microscope and then mycological cultures on Sabouraud’s medium were prepared. After 4 weeks of incubation, the cultures were analysed with the identification of particular pathogens.

Results

42.9% (24/56) of the patients with erysipelas had positive mycological cultures. Toenails and interdigital spaces (both 62.5%) were the most frequently affected areas, followed by soles (37.5%). The most common pathogen was T. rubrum (43.18%), followed by Candida spp. (27.27%), and T. mentagrophytes var.interdigitale (13.63%). Only 14.3% (8/56) of the samples taken from the control group were positive and T.rubrum was the only type of fungus cultured.

Conclusions

Fungal infections of the feet are important risk factors for the first episode as well as recurrent erysipelas. Prevention and early treatment of fungal infections, especially in elderly people, can significantly reduce the incidence of erysipelas.

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Correspondence to Katarzyna Korecka.

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Korecka, K., Mikiel, D., Banaszak, A. et al. Fungal infections of the feet in patients with erysipelas of the lower limb: is it a significant clinical problem?. Infection (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s15010-021-01582-0

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Keywords

  • Erysipelas
  • Tinea pedis
  • Dermatophytosis
  • Infection
  • Onychomycosis