Original Article

Comorbidity of Tinea Pedis and Onychomycosis and Evaluation of Risk Factors in Latino Immigrant Poultry Processing and Other Manual Laborers

Authors: Rita Pichardo-Geisinger, MD, Dana C. Mora, MPH, Jill C. Newman, MS, Thomas A. Arcury, PhD, Steven R. Feldman, MD, PhD, Sara A. Quandt, PhD


Objectives: Latino immigrant workers experience elevated rates of skin disease that result from their working and living conditions. Working in manual occupations exposes workers to a variety of challenges, including occlusive shoes, vigorous physical activity, and wet conditions. These challenges predispose workers to fungal infection. The objectives of this article are to examine the comorbidity of tinea pedis and onychomycosis and to identify possible risk factors among Latino immigrant poultry and nonpoultry workers in western North Carolina.

Methods: Data were obtained from a cross-sectional study conducted between June 2009 and November 2010 in rural western North Carolina among 518 manual Latino immigrant workers to assess their occupational injuries. Participants completed a face-to-face interview and a dermatologic examination.

Results: Nearly one-third of the participants (32%) were diagnosed as having onychomycosis and more than one-third (37.8%) were diagnosed as having tinea pedis. There was a greater prevalence of tinea pedis in men than women (71.3% vs 28.7%, respectively). Of the 518 participants, 121 (23.5%) had both conditions. Participants who reported the use of occlusive shoes as “always” or “most of the time” had a higher prevalence of comorbid onychomycosis and tinea pedis than the rest of the group.

Conclusions: Comorbidity of tinea pedis and onychomycosis is common among immigrant Latino men and women who perform manual labor. Further studies confirming the presence and type of dermatophyte should be conducted.

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