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Aims: Keratinophilic fungi include dermatophytes and a variety of other fungi. Information on their occurrence in several Caribbean countries is scarce. This study investigates occurrence of dermatophytes and other keratinophiic fungi in soils of Anguilla, British West Indies (BWI) and emphasizes its public health significance.
Study design: Place and Duration of Study: The study was done in the Department of Microbiology, Saint James School of Medicine, Anguilla (BWI). One hundred and ten samples of soils from habitats in several localities in Anguilla were examined.
Methodology: The samples were processed by Vanbreuseghem’s hair-bait technique. Bits of fungal growth on hair-bates were cultured on Mycobiotic agar to get pure cultures. Identification of the isolates was accomplished by a detailed study of colonial characters and microscopical features of the isolates.
Results: Eighty-five isolates of keratinophilic fungi were recovered. The identified species included two geophilic dermatophytes, Micrsporum fulvum and M. gypseum and two species of Chrysosporium, namely Chrysosporium keratinophilum and C. indicum, M. fulvum was the predominant species being recovered from 35 (31.8%) of the soil samples followed by C. keratinophilum being isolated from 15.5% of the samples. M. gypseum was present in 8 (7.3%) of the samples. The prevalence of other species was as follows: C. indicum (13.6%), Chrysosporium spp. (4.5%) and Sepedonium spp. (4.5%).
Conclusion: The preponderance occurrence of M. fulvum over M. gypseum and that of C. keratinophilum over C. indicum in soils of Anguilla is a remarkable observation. The farmers, other workers, school children who come in contact with soil are likely to be infected with a dermatophytes and also the visitors to the beaches and the local population nearby.
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