• Volunteer subjects exposed themselves by immersing the right foot in a basin of water that had been contaminated either by the previous immersion of a foot with proved fungous disease or by the addition of fungus culture material. Clinical fungous disease of the foot did not result in any of the volunteers, even though the skin was found to have picked up the organisms. There is a sharp distinction between asymptomatic "fungous infection" and clinical "fungous disease" of the feet. Exogenous exposure plays at most a minor role in acute dermatophytosis of the feet.
Other volunteers whose feet carried one type of fungus exposed a foot to water contaminated with a fungus other than that already resident on the skin. In one instance Trichophyton rubrum was thus induced to grow where T. mentagrophytes had existed before. In three instances T. mentagrophytes infection was superposed on the preexistent T. rubrum infection. These four instances in 20 trials with heavily contaminated water did not lead to active attacks of fungous disease.
Public and individual measures for the prevention of fungous disease of the feet should be based on the maintenance of local resistance to infection rather than on measures designed to prevent infection.
Baer RL, Rosenthal SA, Litt JZ, Rogachefsky H. EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS ON MECHANISM PRODUCING ACUTE DERMATOPHYTOSIS OF FEET. JAMA. 1956;160(3):184–190. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960380032009
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