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Erythrasma is a superficial skin infection that presents with red-brown, flaky macules. It is caused by the Gram-positive bacteria Corynebacterium minutissimum. The purpose of our study is to investigate the prevalence and incidence of erythrasma in active sportsmen, i.e., athletes and football players, comparing the results with the incidence of the disease in the general population.
A total of 140 sportsmen, 110 male athletes and 30 football players, were examined by clinical examination, microscopic examination (Gram staining), and Wood’s lamp examination.
Erythrasma was diagnosed in 39% (43) of the athletes and in 40% (12) of the football players studied. Inguinal folds were found to be most commonly affected. The disease was often localized to more than one area. This erythrasma study conducted in Bulgaria is the first in active athletes. The worldwide prevalence of erythrasma in the general population varies from 4 to 15%.
It was found that the incidence of erythrasma is high in men actively involved in sports. The results obtained are explained by the presence of many factors predisposing for the development of this disease in the athletes.