West Afr J Med. 2022 Nov 30;39(11):1127-1133.
INTRODUCTION: Onychomycosis has been documented as an occupational dermatosis and dermatophyte infection of the nail is the most common infection amongst farmers. This study aims to determine the prevalence of fungal nail infections amongst cassava farmers and processors and identify causative organisms.
METHODS: Consenting individuals engaged in the processing of raw cassava into ‘garri’ meal in Odogbolu local government area of Ogun State were included. Questionnaires contained demographic details, clinical descriptions, classification, and the presence of fungal infections in other parts of the body. Nail clippings were collected for direct microscopy using 40% Potassium hydroxide solution to break down nail keratin. Specimens were inoculated onto Sabouraud’s dextrose agar with chloramphenicol and gentamicin incorporated, and incubated at 26°C and 35°C.
RESULTS: Clinical features of onychomycosis were found in 119 (68.4%) participants. Distal subungual onychomycosis (68-57.1%) was the most common clinical type, followed by total dystrophic onychomycosis (49-41.2%), candida onychomycosis (34-28.6%), proximal subungual onychomycosis (14-11.8%) and superficial white onychomycosis (9-7.6%). One hundred and one (84.9%) respondents with clinically described onychomycosis had positive results in mycology studies. The non-dermatophyte molds (Aspergillus and Penicillium spp.) were found in 130 samples (78.8%); dermatophytes in 31 (18.8%) and yeast in 7 (4.2%).
CONCLUSION: Non-dermatophyte molds, traditionally thought to be contaminants of nail cultures, were the main causative agents of primary fungal nail infections. Garri processors will benefit from public health intervention geared towards automation of some of these processes to minimize contact with soil and water, and health education on the use of protective materials.