Definition of Dermatophytes
Dermatophytes are fungi that cause skin, hair, and nail infections. Infections caused by these fungi are also sometimes known as "ringworm" or "tinea." Despite the name "ringworm," this infection is not caused by a worm, but by a type of fungus called a dermatophyte. One example of a very common dermatophyte infection is athlete's foot, which is also called tinea pedis. Another common dermatophyte infection affecting the groin area is jock itch, also known as tinea cruris.
There are many different species of dermatophytes that can cause infection in humans. Two of the most common types are Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton tonsurans, which are usually transmitted from person to person. Another common dermatophyte is Microsporum canis, which is transmitted to people from animals such as cats and dogs. Dermatophytes like to live on moist areas of the skin, such as places where there are skin folds. They can also live on household items, such as clothing, towels, and bedding.