The evidence is mounting that the fungus responsible for athlete's foot and ringworm- trichophyton, may be playing a role in severe asthma...
A Japanese study published in the Journal Chest examined rates of allergic sensitivity to this fungus in asthmatics and non-asthmatics, as measured by presence of IgE antibody in the blood specific for trichophyton.
32.4% of patients with severe asthma were sensitized to trichophyton, 15.8% of patients with moderate asthma were allergic, and only 4.9% of patients with mild asthma were sensitized.
Interestingly, the rates for allergic sensitization to other common environmental allergens (cat, dog, mixed molds) did not differ significantly between the different groups of asthmatics.
Similar associations between trichophyton and asthma have been noted in Venezuela and Turkey as well. Antifungal treatment in these patients has been shown to improve asthma severity.
Bottom line? Although probably not a major issue for well-controlled asthmatics, severe asthmatics in my office will now be asked to remove their socks.