Tinea capitis in an immigrant pediatric community; a clinical signs-based treatment approach

Riad Kassem, Yahel Shemesh, Orna Nitzan, Maya Azrad, Avi Peretz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Tinea capitis is a common cutaneous infection of the scalp and hair follicles, typically diagnosed by direct examination and culture. Treatment with oral antifungals is usually withheld until mycology results are available. In Israel, African refugee children demonstrate higher susceptibility to Tinea capitis and generally fail to undergo follow-up evaluations. Methods: This study aimed to identify the clinical characteristics and treatment responses of refugee children in Israel with Tinea capitis, in order to formulate a treatment plan for primary care physicians. To this end, demographic, clinical and laboratory data were extracted from the electronic medical records of 76 refugee children presenting with Tinea capitis during 2016–2017. All measured variables and derived parameters are presented using descriptive statistics. The correlation between background clinical and demographic data and Tinea capitis diagnosis was assessed using the chi-squared and Wilcoxon tests. Correlations between demographic/clinical/laboratory characteristics and other types of fungi or other important findings were assessed using a T-test. Results: Scaling was the most common clinical finding. Cultures were positive in 64 (84%) and direct examination in 65 (85%) cases, with a positive correlation between the methods in 75% of cases. The most common fungal strain was T. violaceum. Fluconazole treatment failed in 27% of cases. Griseofulvin 50 mg/kg/day was administered to 74 (97%) children, and induced clinical responses. No side effects were reported. Conclusions: The key aim of this study was to emphasize the importance of diagnosis and treatment of these immigrant children by their primary pediatric doctor since it takes, an average of 4.3 months until they visit a dermatologist. During this critical time period, the scalp can become severely and permanently damaged, and the infection can become systemic or cause an outbreak within the entire community. In conclusion, we recommend to relate to scaly scalp in high-risk populations as Tinea capitis, and to treat with griseofulvin at a dosage of up to 50 mg/kg/day, starting from the first presentation to the pediatrician.

Original languageEnglish
Article number363
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 26 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Children of refugees
  • Dermatophyte
  • Empiric treatment
  • Tinea capitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Tinea capitis in an immigrant pediatric community; a clinical signs-based treatment approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this