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November 1984

A Simple Stain for Rapid Office Diagnosis of Fungus Infections of the Skin

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, NC.

Arch Dermatol. 1984;120(11):1519-1520. doi:10.1001/archderm.1984.01650470125029

Direct microscopy using potassium hydroxide as a clearing agent is a diagnostic procedure commonly used for the detection of fungal hyphae in suspected dermatophytoses, tinea versicolor, and candidiasis. Although this method is quick, simple, and inexpensive, it lacks sensitivity (especially when hyphae are sparce in the specimen), and often the physician must rely on culture results. A practical, more sensitive method for the detection of fungal infections of the skin would be useful to the office practitioner. Routine histopathologic stains for fungi (eg, PAS, silver methenamine) and fluorescent techniques are time-consuming, complex, and certainly not amenable to routine office settings. Many investigators have attempted to find an improvement on the routinely used potassium hydroxide wet mount. Early investigators used Parker's blue ink in an alkaline solution for staining of fungal hyphae.1-5 Swartz and Medreck6 described a rapid-staining procedure using Parker's ink and rose bengal, which provided for a

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