Scientists discover rare and highly-contagious sexually transmitted fungal disease that causes ringworms

A rare and new sexually transmitted disease may be spreading across the world. Picture: Freepik

A rare and new sexually transmitted disease may be spreading across the world. Picture: Freepik

Published Jun 18, 2024


Thanks to modern science, many venereal (sexually transmitted) diseases have mostly been eradicated or managed. However, new ones are still being discovered and there still exists highly contagious but rare cases.

Recently, following a report of a rare sexually transmitted ringworm in the US, medical experts are warning clinicians and the general public about the highly contagious uncommon fungus strain in the country and across the world.

According to the nation’s public health agency, Centres for Disease Control, the disease is called Trichophyton mentagrophytes type VII and is caused by a sexually transmitted fungus.

According to a new JAMA Dermatology report, the first case involved a man in his 30s from New York City who developed (tinea) ringworm on his genitals, buttocks, and limbs soon after reporting having sex with men during a trip to California, as well as trips to England and Greece.

“What makes this case a little bit different, is it is a type of ringworm that can cause more inflammatory-type lesions, and it can occur in the groin area or the genital area,” said JAMA’s Dr Avrom Caplan.

“When the man returned home, according to the case study, he developed an itchy red, rash on areas including his groin, genitals and buttocks, and tests confirmed he had contracted the rare fungus,” reported USA Today.

According to Healthline, the individual was treated with the antifungal medicine fluconazole for four weeks, with no results.

However, the disease is curable. He was then given the antifungals terbinafine and itraconazole, both of which relieved his symptoms.

Here are the symptoms of Trichophyton mentagrophytes type VII to look out for:

– Severe itching.

– Inflamed circular patterns on the skin.

– Hair and nail concerns.

– Causes athlete’s foot (a fungal infection affecting the skin over the feet and between toes).

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