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Pets as the main source of two zoonotic species of the Trichophyton mentagrophytes complex in Switzerland, Arthroderma vanbreuseghemii and Arthroderma benhamiae
In cases of highly inflammatory dermatophytosis in humans, it is important to identify the possible source of animal transmission in order to prevent recurrence, family outbreaks or rapidly progressing epidemics. A survey of dermatophytes in pets during a 14-month period in Switzerland revealed, in addition to Microsporum canis, two different species of the Trichophyton mentagrophytes complex, Arthroderma benhamiae and Arthroderma vanbreuseghemii, all causing inflammatory dermatophytoses. Arthroderma benhamiae was only and frequently isolated from guinea pigs. Arthroderma vanbreuseghemii was isolated mainly from European short hair cats, but also from dogs and in one case from a pure-bred cat. Ninety-three percent of the cats carrying A. vanbreuseghemii were hunters and all had skin lesions. In contrast, cats with skin lesions that were strictly indoors were found to be almost exclusively infected by M. canis. Therefore, it can be suspected that infection with A. vanbreuseghemii occurred during hunting and that the natural source of this dermatophyte is either soil or an animal other than the cat, most probably a rodent.
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