First Case of Rare, Sexually Transmitted Form of Ringworm Reported in the U.S.

Eczema, which may have a similar appearance as the fungal ringworm.

A rare sexually transmitted ringworm caused by a fungus called Trichophyton mentagrophytes type VII has popped up in the United States for the first time. This news comes from a report in JAMA Dermatology by doctors at NYU Langone Health.

A man in his 30s from New York City, who had multiple sexual partners during his travels to England, Greece, and California, came home with a red, itchy rash on his legs, groin, and butt. Tests showed he had a sexually transmitted fungus, Trichophyton mentagrophytes type VII. This is the first time this fungus has been identified in the U.S., though there were 13 cases in France last year, mostly among men who have sex with men.

His infection didn’t clear up easily—it took four and a half months of treatment with various anti-fungal medications to finally heal. He started with four weeks of fluconazole, then six weeks of terbinafine, and another eight weeks of itraconazole.

Dr. Avrom Caplan from NYU Langone Health, who reported the case, says there’s no need to panic, but awareness is key. If you notice an itchy rash in areas like your groin that isn’t getting better, see a doctor. It might look more like eczema than the typical ringworm, which forms circles.

While the infection was likely passed on during sex, it could have also come from a sauna visit. The man’s partners didn’t show any symptoms of ringworm.

When asked if the LGBTQ community in Pittsburgh should be on the lookout for this infection, Dr. Stacy Lane said “Yes, especially gay men.”

If you have a persistent rash or skin lesions that aren’t improving, especially if you think it might be ringworm, see your doctor right away. Getting the right treatment is essential.

Stay aware and take care of yourselves, this highlights the importance of recognizing and treating infections promptly.

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