Fungal Pathogens Associated with Hair Combs Used by Undergraduate Female Students of a Private University in South West Nigeria: Prevalence, Risk Factors and Anti-Fungal Susceptibility Study

Hair combs may serve as potential vehicles for fungi capable of causing infections of the hair and other parts of the human body. This study was designed to assess fungal contaminants associated with hair combs used by undergraduate female stu-dents of Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun state, identify associated risk factors and determine the anti-fungal suscepti-bility pattern of the fungal isolates. A total number of one hundred and twenty (120) female students were recruited for the study, swabs of their hair combs were obtained, and the samples were inoculated onto Sabouraud Dextrose Agar (SDA). The plates were incubated at 250C for 7 days and fungal isolates were identified both macroscopically and microscopically. Antifun-gal susceptibility pattern of the isolates was determined by the disc diffusion method. The outcome of this study show that 111 (92.5%) out of the 120 hair combs examined had fungi contaminants, while the remaining 9 (7.5%) were fungi-free. 29 (24.2%) had one fungi isolate (mono-fungi contamination), 60 (50.0%) had two fungi isolates (dual-fungi contamination), while 22 (18.3%) had more than two fungi isolates (poly-fungi contamination). The percentage occurrences of dermatophytes (Microsporum sp. and Trichophyton sp.) and Non-dermatophytes (Aspergillus sp. and Candida sp.) were 52.8% and 39.7%, respectively. The organism with the highest percentage occurrence was Microsporum sp. (30.4%), followed by Trichophyton sp. (26.7%), Aspergillus sp. (26.3%), and Candida sp. (16.6%). 78% of the hair combs examined had acceptable level of fungal load (Below 20 CFU/25cm2), while 14% had unacceptable level of fungal load (Above 50 CFU/25cm2). The fungal isolates were sensitive to the antifungal agents tested with different levels of sensitivity. This current study further strengthens the earlier claim that hair combs may serve as potential vehicles for fungal pathogens capable of causing hair infections. It is therefore important for female folks to be acquainted with factors that promote fungal contamination and colonization of their hair combs and discourage the same in other to forestall the occurrence of fungal infection of their hair and scalp in the future.

*Corresponding Author: Seyi Samson Enitan, Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Nigeria, +2348065483761, +2348152356453

Accepted: January 24, 2020           Published: March 4, 2020