Background The direct microscopy, fungal culture and histopathology that are necessary for the definitive diagnosis of tinea unguium are disadvantageous in that detection sensitivity is affected by the level of skill of the person who performs the testing, and the procedures take a long time. Objectives The Dermatophyte Test Strip, which was developed recently, can simply and easily detect filamentous fungi in samples in a short time, and there are expectations for its use as a method for tinea unguium screening. With this in mind, we examined the detection capacity of the Dermatophyte Test Strip for tinea unguium. Methods The presence or absence of fungal elements was judged by direct microscopy and Dermatophyte Test Strip in 165 nail samples obtained from residents in nursing homes for the elderly. Moreover, the minimum sample amount required for positive determination was estimated using 32 samples that showed positive results by Dermatophyte Test Strip. Results The Dermatophyte Test Strip showed 98% sensitivity, 78% specificity, 84·8% positive predictive value, 97% negative predictive value and a positive and negative concordance rate of 89·1%. The minimum sample amount required for positive determination was 0·002-0·722 mg. Conclusions The Dermatophyte Test Strip showed very high sensitivity and negative predictive value, and was considered a potentially useful method for tinea unguium screening. Positive determination was considered to be possible with a sample amount of about 1 mg. What's already known about this topic? Tinea should be diagnosed based on mycological examinations. Direct microscopy, culture and histopathology are employed to detect fungal elements. These methods require technical skill and/or consume time. What does this study add? The Dermatophyte Test Strip visualizes mycotic antigens by immunochromatography. It allows easier and faster detection of fungi in samples, with very high sensitivity. It is a useful method for screening of tinea unguium.
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