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Epidemiological status of dermatophytosis among rice farmers in Ebonyi State, Nigeria

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Dermatophytosis caused by dermatophytic fungi is highly contagious and represents significant public health problem in Nigeria and the world at large. The infection among rice farmers had not received much attention; hence, the epidemiology of dermatophytosis among rice farmers in Ebonyi State was studied. A total of 2130 rice farmers were randomly selected and screened for dermatophytosis. Hair fragments, skin and nail scrapings were collected from 182 rice farmers that presented with lesions suggestive of the infection using sterile scissors and scalpels. The samples were examined by direct microscopy using 5% KOH and cultured on Sabouraud dextrose agar supplemented with 0.05 mg/mL chloramphenicol and 0.5 mg/mL cycloheximide and incubated at 28 °C ± 2 °C for 7 days. The dermatophytes isolated were identified by macroscopic and microscopic methods and confirmed by molecular analysis. Demographic data and factors influencing the infection were obtained through questionnaires and analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) at p<0.05 significant level with SPSS version 22. A total of 54 dermatophyte species were recovered from the samples. Dermatophytes isolated included Trichophyton tonsurans 23 (42.59%), Trichophyton mentagrophytes 14 (25.93%), Trichophyton rubrum 7 (12.96%), Trichophyton soudanense 5 (9.26%), Microsporum gypseum 3 (5.56%) and Microsporum canis 2 (3.70%). Age, gender, educational status and family size of the farmers and their interactions with domestic animals influenced the distribution of dermatophyte species isolated. Out of 182 rice farmers screened, the age-group 16-26 years were most infected with the infection 71 (39.01%), followed by 39 (21.43%) between the age-group 27-37 years and a decline between the age-group 49-59 years 15 (8.24%). The females were more infected 144 (79.12%) than the males 38 (20.88%). The infection among the females was found to be significant (P<0.05). Among the skin infections observed in the study areas, tinea capitis 76 (41.76%) was the most predominant type of infection followed by tinea unguium (onychomycosis) 59 (32.42%) and tinea corporis 47 (25.82%). It is expected that the study will be an eye-opener to the government, non-governmental organizations as well as community-based organizations to execute various intervention programmes like public health education and improved farming conditions to help reduce the burden of the infection in the area.
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  • Department of Microbiology, Imo State University Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria
  • Department of Applied Microbiology and Brewing, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria
  • Department of Microbiology, Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Nigeria
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