Health

CDC warns of treatment-resistant ringworm in the US

There were two recent cases of antifungal-resistant ringworm, which hadn't been spotted in the U.S. until now.

A CDC illustration of ringworm symptoms
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
SMS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it encountered two cases of antifungal-resistant ringworm in the U.S. recently.

A 28-year-old woman developed the condition in 2021, and a 47-year-old woman developed an infection in 2022 while she was in Bangladesh. Neither of the patients had underlying health conditions.

A dermatologist notified the CDC in February, after discovering the infections were from a pathogen they hadn't encountered before.

The CDC says drug-resistant ringworm is epidemic in South Asia due to misuse and overuse of topical antifungals and corticosteroids. Cases hadn't been seen in the U.S. until now.

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Ringworm is a highly transmissible fungal infection that manifests as inflamed rashes across the body. It's called ringworm for its tendency to cause itchy ring-shaped rashes. A common version is known as athlete's foot. Antifungal-resistant ringworm doesn't respond to typical treatments.

Athletes, those who use public showers and locker rooms and those with weakened immune systems are at particular risk.

According to the CDC, the first patient didn't have an international travel history, which suggests local transmission may be occurring. The CDC said doctors should perform thorough testing to spot potential new cases.