Epidemiology of Fungal Nail Infection in Minnesota

People in Minnesota know about the nail fungus, but most people in Minnesota don’t the word Onychomycosis. Infections of the nail caused by fungi are generically called onychomycosis, a term derived from the Greek “Onychos” which means nail, and Mycosis an infection by fungi.

Onychomycosis causes the toenails or fingernails to discolor and disfigure. At first, onychomycosis appears to be only a cosmetic concern. Without treatment, however, fungal infection can significantly change the appearance of nail and surrounding tissue, the toenails can become so thick that they press against the inside of the shoes, causing pressure, irritation, and even pain (ingrown toenail).  The nail fungal infection also increases chance of the secondary bacterial infection in the toes, especially in the diabetes patients and immunosuppressed patients.

The incidence of onychomycosis has been reported to be 2-13% in North America. Studies in the Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, and Finland found prevalence rates of onychomycosis to be 3-8%. Onychomycosis affects persons of all races, and it affects males more commonly than females.

Onychomycosis is the most common nail disease in adults, and adults are 30 times more likely to have onychomycosis than children. Epidemiology study showed that 90% of elderly people have onychomycosis comparing only 2.6% of children. Toenails are much more likely to be infected by fungus than fingernails. The incidence of onychomycosis has been increasing over the years and is related to diabetes, a suppressed immune system, and aging.

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