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New Fungal STI Lands in NYC, First Reported Case in the US

Emell Adolphus READ TIME: 2 MIN.

A rare sexually transmitted form of ringworm has been reported for the first time in the United States, according to NBC.

A case report published Wednesday in JAMA Dermatology by NYU Langone Health details a case involving gay man in his 30s who reported having sex with multiple men during a trip to England, Greece, and California.

According to the report, when the man returned home, he developed a red, itchy rash on his legs and across his groin and buttocks. After some tests, the man was found to have a sexually transmitted fungus called Trichophyton mentagrophytes type VII.

Doctors found 13 of such cases in France last year, according to the report.

"We think a lot about antibacterial resistance, but this is a very important time for us to think about anti-fungus resistance," said Mahmoud Ghannoum, a professor of dermatology at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, told NBC. Ghannoum was reportedly not involved in the new report.

The reported case in the U.S. took nearly four and a half months to heal using standard anti-fungal medications, including fluconazole, six weeks of terbinafine, and eight additional weeks of itraconazole, NBC reports.

"There's no evidence that this is widespread, or that this is something that people really need to be worried about," said Dr. Avrom Caplan, an assistant professor of dermatology at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and author of the report. "But if people are having itchy eruptions in areas like the groin, and it's not getting better, see a doctor."

Since the first case, Caplan's team has identified 11 cases of Trichophyton indotineae ringworm in both men and women in New York City, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering the sexually transmitted case as "notable."

"Oftentimes, what happens is that these patients receive multiple courses of antibacterial drugs which are not going to make the fungus better," said Jeremy Gold, a medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Clinicians should keep this in mind so that patients can get appropriate care."

by Emell Adolphus

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