The causative organisms and susceptibility factors were compared in two groups of individuals with tinea pedis, coal miners (234) and dermatological outpatients (244). Trichophyton rubrum was the commonest dermatophyte in both groups, being isolated from 71% of infected miners and 77% of infected outpatients. The incidence of atopy in the outpatients, but not the miners, was significantly higher in individuals with T rubrum infections than in control groups. An analysis of the data from both groups suggests that in the coal miners, in whom there is a high risk of endemic dermatophytosis, susceptibility factors such as atopy are of less importance than in patients seen in a dermatological outpatient clinic in whom the risk of exposure to other sources of dermatophytosis is low.
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