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a disease of the nails caused by pathogenic fungi (seeDERMATOMYCOSES). Onychomycosis usually accompanies epidermophytosis; less commonly, trichophytosis, favus, candidiasis, and other fungal diseases. Onychomycosis, which rarely occurs as a separate disease, can arise in combination with fungal diseases of the skin and hair.
Acute inflammation is usually absent in onychomycosis. The nail plate becomes yellow, opaque, or brown, as well as brittle and thick: the nail often separates from the bed and becomes deformed. In some forms of onychomycosis, for example, when the accompanying disease is an epidermophytosis, all the nail plates are affected. In other forms, only a few nail plates are affected; for example, when trichophytosis is the accompanying disease, only the nails of the first and fifth toes have lesions. The pathological process may sometimes spread from the surrounding tissues to the nail plate. This occurs, for example, in onychomycosis that results from candidiasis, when the infection spreads from the borders of the nail.
Onychomycosis is treated by removing the nail plates with keratolytic plasters or with surgery and by applying antifungal agents. The disease is prevented by protecting the nail plates against injuries, treating microtraumas of the skin and nails with a 2 percent tincture of iodine, and by wearing shoes that fit properly. It is also important to control perspiration, to take proper hygienic care of the nails, and to wear slippers in baths, pools, and showers. On the public level, onychomycosis is prevented by disinfecting the patient’s personal belongings, by preventive checkups, and by inspection of public baths, pools, barbershops, and therapeutic baths. Cattle and other domestic animals are inspected for onychomycosis.
REFERENCESheklakov, N. D., and M. V. Milich. Gribkovye zabolevaniia cheloveka. Moscow, 1970.
S. S. KRIAZHEVA