Disability from skin diseases among American troops in Vietnam engaged in combat in warm wet areas is often the greatest medical cause of noneffectiveness. Infections are the leading causes of cutaneous disease.
The most common infection is produced by a griseofulvin-sensitive elastase producing Trichophyton mentagrophytes but other dermatophytes and Candida albicans are also frequent.
Modern treatment has reduced medical evacuation in comparison with World War II. The statistics give dramatic evidence of the reduction in prolonged disability from skin diseases in Vietnam as compared with the Southwest Pacific in 1944-1945. Little has been accomplished in preventing skin diseases in combat troops.
The statement by a military commander that "the fighting strength of troops, such as those in the Mekong delta region, would be almost doubled by improving prevention and treatment of dermatological disorders" poses a real challenge to the military and to dermatology.
Blank H, Taplin D, Zaias N. Cutaneous Trichophyton mentagrophytes Infections in Vietnam. Arch Dermatol. 1969;99(2):135-144. doi:10.1001/archderm.1969.01610200007002