Toe web intertrigo in Kaposi’s sarcoma patients: a microbiological study in a large cohort of patients

G. Nazzaro, A. Tourlaki, B. Scoppio, A. Restelli, A. Grancini, L. Brambilla

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Kaposi ‘s sarcoma (KS) is a rare multifocal angioproliferative disease associated with human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8) infection, characterized by cutaneous nodules or plaques especially on the lower limbs. Some skin modifications, such as chronic lymphedema, plantar hyperkeratosis and interdigital desquamation, may be associated with consequent impairment of the local immunosurveillance and increased risk of some bacterial or mycotic infections. With the objective of evaluating if bacterial or mycotic infections in KS patients are supported by different microorganisms compared to control patients, we performed an observational retrospective study, comparing positive cultural swabs of interdigital intertrigo of KS patients with positive cultural swabs of interdigital intertrigo of patients admitted to our dermatologic unit during the last 10 years. One hundred KS patients and 84 control patients were admitted to this study. Some of the skin swabs from interdigital spaces were positive for more than one microorganism, and therefore we found 187 microorganisms among the KS group and 182 microorganisms in the control group. The most common microrganisms among KS patients were T. mentagrophytes (16%), S. aureus (14.9%), P. aeruginosa (13.9%), S. marcescens (5,9%), while among non-KS patients were S. aureus (26,9%), C. albicans (22%), S. agalactiae (7.7%) and E. coli (9.9%). These differences are statistically significant (p < 0.01). KS patients may be more affected by toe web intertrigo due to other bacteria and dermatophytes than the general population. During clinical examination, a careful inspection is necessary for an early diagnosis of toe web intertrigo, in order to prevent serious complications, such as cellulitis and sepsis. Consequently, a cultural examination with antibiogram is required to identify the causative agent of intertrigo and guide antimicrobial therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-303
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Kaposi’s sarcoma
  • Microbiology
  • Toe web intertrigo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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