Two women in New York are diagnosed with the first US cases of a highly contagious drug-resistant fungal infection that has reached ‘epidemic proportions’ in South Asia
At least two women in New York have been diagnosed with a new, highly contagious fungal skin infection that has reached “epidemic proportions” in South Asia.
These are the first known cases of drug-resistant ringworm, also known as ringworm, in the United States, which can cause large, red, itchy rashes anywhere on the body.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials reported that the unnamed patients, ages 28 and 47, suffered injuries to the neck, abdomen, buttocks and thighs, and other cases are in exam course.
Fungal infections are becoming more common in America, especially drug-resistant strains, due to climate change, experts suggest.
The 28-year-old (pictured above), pregnant when dermatologists examined her, had been showing symptoms since summer 2021
The 47-year-old (pictured) had the rash on her thighs and buttocks
A dermatologist first reported two women with the virus in late February.
The 28-year-old reported rashes that appeared in the summer of 2021 and saw a doctor in December of that year when she was in the third trimester of her pregnancy.
Dermatologists found large ring-shaped scaly rashes on her neck, abdomen, pubic area and buttocks.
She was diagnosed with ringworm and received antifungal treatment in January 2022 after the birth of her baby, which did not work.
A four week course of the antifungal itraconazole finally cleared up the rash.
She hadn’t been overseas recently, leading CDC officials to say it could have been transmitted locally.
The second woman developed an extensive rash while traveling in Bangladesh.
Topical creams did not help and upon returning to the United States she visited the ER three times in the fall of 2022.
In December last year, she was seen by dermatologists who noted she had an extensive, scaly, ring-shaped rash on her thighs and buttocks.
Various topical treatments and two four-week drug treatments improved the rash by 80%.
The 47-year-old lives with her husband and son, who also have similar symptoms, and the CDC said it is investigating their cases.
Scientists tested the ringworm strain, which came back as Trichophyton indotineae, which is currently rampant in India and other parts of South Asia.
The fungus Trichophyton rubrum causes ringworm. The strain recently discovered in the United States is drug resistant
This is likely due to overuse of medications, such as antifungals to treat them.
There have been previous cases in Europe and Canada, but never before in America.
Health officials said they were “concerned” because the infection has not responded to normal treatments prescribed by dermatologists.
Ringworm is spread through skin-to-skin contact and can cause rashes all over the body. The infection is usually found in children, but anyone can get it.
It is not caused by a worm, but by a fungal infection.
Cases are usually treated with antifungal creams, but sometimes oral antifungal medications are also needed.