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Rare, sexually transmitted ringworm reported in NYC

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Doctors are warning of a new case of an uncommon ringworm fungus transmitted through sex. A man in his 30s contracted trichophyton mentagrophytes type VII (TMVII) after trips to England, Greece, and California where he had multiple male partners.

He developed an itchy rash on his genitals and buttocks that took over 4 months of oral antifungals to clear.

This is the first reported case in the US, following 13 similar cases among gay men in France last year.

Doctors say the infection was most likely sexually transmitted but other transmission is possible.

“There’s no evidence that this is widespread, or that this is something that people really need to be worried about,” NYU Grossman School of Medicine assistant professor Dr. Avrom Caplan said. “But if people are having itchy eruptions in areas like the groin, and it’s not getting better, see a doctor.”

They advise physicians to directly ask patients about genital rashes and consider fungal infections, especially in those with risk factors like travel, multiple partners, and slow-healing rashes.

“Since patients are often reluctant to discuss genital problems, physicians need to directly ask about rashes around the groin and buttocks, especially for those who are sexually active, have recently traveled abroad, and report itchy areas elsewhere on the body,” researcher John Zampella stated.

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