Ringworm is not a worm at all; it is a fungus. The name is derived from the round, red, raised “wormlike” lesions seen on infected human skin.
Tinea corporis can infect the skin of both animals and humans; and it can be transmitted between animals and humans.
Humans (or other animals) can contract ringworm from animals (or other infected humans) by touching objects that the infected individual has come in contact with, such as their bedding, grooming equipment, furniture, etc. Not every animal or human who touches infected objects or creatures will become infected; age, immune status, skin condition, and even the ambient heat and humidity all play a part in determining whether or not the ringworm spreads. The very young, very old and those with suppressed immune systems are most at risk.
In humans, itchy, red, raised scaly patches in circular patterns are typically seen. Individual patches are usually less than two inches in diameter, and may occur singly or in groups.
In animals, classic ringworm lesions are patchy areas of fur loss, with underlying scaliness of the skin, usually without much inflammation of the skin. Generally it is not itchy.
How ringworm is diagnosed
Ringworm can sometimes be diagnosed in humans by the visual evaluation of a physician, although the definitive diagnosis can be made by taking a skin scraping and examining the specimen under a microscope.
With pets, an ultraviolet light (blacklight) can be used in a darkened room to see if the affected area fluoresces a yellow-green color. This is called a Wood’s lamp test, although not all ringworm fungus infections will fluoresce, and dander or other conditions may give a false-positive. The definitive diagnosis is made via fungal culture – adding hair and skin scraping to growth media and seeing what grows over the next few days or weeks.
Next: Ringworm treatment, prognosis, and prevention
Neither Emily nor Yogi have ringworm or any other fungi for that matter. They are young and healthy and in search of their forever home. Look how snuggly they are! A bonded pair, Emily and Yogi need to be adopted as a pair. Visit them at the Humane Society of Greater Dayton.
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