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Tuesday 01 October 2002

Atopic dermatitis and fungi.

By: Faergemann J.

Clin Microbiol Rev 2002 Oct;15(4):545-63

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, itching, inflammatory skin disease which is associated with asthma and/or hay fever and a familial occurrence of these conditions. Genetic factors are important in the development of AD, but the exact hereditary pathway is still unknown. Dry skin and the weakened barrier function in patients with AD is very important for the patient's reactions to irritants and other external trigger factors including microorganisms. The standard treatments are topical corticosteroids, topical immunomodulating agents, and emollients. If AD cannot be controlled by this type of treatment, systemic immunomodulating agents may be used. UVB, UVA, or psoralen-UVA may also be used for widespread severe lesions. However, some patients do not respond to these standard treatment, and then it is important to consider the role of microorganisms, house dust mites or food. The role of the Malassezia yeasts in AD, especially AD located to the head and neck region, is now documented in several papers. There are also several papers indicating the role of Candida as an aggravating factor in AD. Patients with AD also develop chronic dermatophyte infections more easily, and patients with AD and chronic dermatophyte infections may show improvement in their AD when treated with antifungal drugs.

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