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April 1983

Commentary: Undecylenic Acid and Fungous Infections

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine.

Arch Dermatol. 1983;119(4):351-353. doi:10.1001/archderm.1983.01650280079021

Shapiro and Rothman1 reported their research on undecylenic acid in the treatment of dermatomycosis in 1945 when the United States was engaged in World War II. Cutaneous diseases, including fungous infections, were a major cause of disability and hospitalization in military troops.2 As high as 75% of all soldiers reporting to sick call and 20% of those requiring hospitalization suffered from skin disorders. The problem was compounded by the dermatologic inexperience of most of the physicians responsible for providing care for the troops. The cutaneous diseases seen most frequently included overtreatment dermatitis, superficial pyogenic infections, chronic eczematous eruptions, and superficial fungous infections, with the order of frequency varying in different areas. Eminent dermatologists, eg, Pillsbury and Livingood in the US Army and Sulzberger in the US Navy, and many others contributed to improvements in dermatologic treatment and research. The most valuable advances in the prevention and treatment of

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