Link ex Steudel, 1824
Description and Natural Habitats
Epidermophyton is a filamentous fungus and one of the three fungal genera classified as dermatophytes. It is distributed worldwide. Man is the primary host of Epidermophyton floccosum, the only species which is pathogenic. The natural habitat of the related but the nonpathogenic species Epidermophyton stockdaleae is soil [529, 1295, 2202].
The genus Epidermophyton contains two species; Epidermophyton floccosum and Epidermophyton stockdaleae. E. stockdaleae is known to be nonpathogenic, leaving E. floccosum as the only species causing infections in humans.
Pathogenicity and Clinical Significance
E. floccosum is one of the common causes of dermatophytosis in otherwise healthy individuals. It infects skin (tinea corporis, tinea cruris, tinea pedis) and nails (onychomycosis). The infection is restricted to the nonliving cornified layers of epidermis since the fungus lacks the ability to penetrate the viable tissues of the immunocompetent host [57, 1679, 2400]. Disseminated infections due to any of the dermatophytes are very unlikely due to the restriction of the infection to keratinized tissues. However, invasive E. floccosum infection has been reported in an immunocompromised patient with Behcet’s syndrome.