Prevalence and risk factors for tinea pedis in Israeli soldiers

Arnon D. Cohen*, A. Wolak, M. Alkan, R. Shalev, D. A. Vardy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Tinea pedis is a common infection in soldiers. However, prevalence and risk factors for tinea pedis in soldiers were investigated in only a few studies. Objectives: To investigate the prevalence and risk factors for tinea pedis in Israeli soldiers. Methods: A cross-sectional study including interviews, clinical skin examination and mycological tests was performed in Israeli soldiers. The presence of tinea pedis was assessed using the Athlete's Foot Severity Index (AFSI), a scoring system that was developed in order to evaluate the presence and severity of tinea pedis. In soldiers with clinical evidence of tinea pedis (AFSI > 1), scrapings were taken for direct microscopic examination (20% KOH preparation) and fungal culture. Statistical analyses were performed using chi-square or Fisher's exact test for dichotomous variables (as needed), or t-tests for continuous variables. Logistic regression was used for multivariate analyses of dichotomous variables. Results: Two hundred and twenty-three soldiers were included in the study: 205 men (91.9%) and 18 women (8.1%). Mean age was 19.6 years (SD 1.0 year). Clinical point prevalence was 60.1%. Mycological point prevalence was 27.3%. Further analyses were performed using the clinical point prevalence. Univariate analyses demonstrated that the prevalence of tinea pedis varied with the setting of military training (basic training: 70.3%, advanced infantry training: 81.5%, armor commander training: 56.4% and armor officer training: 34.8%) and was associated with male gender, frequency of sock changes and the length of military service. A multivariate analysis demonstrated that tinea pedis was associated with the setting of the military training (OR 1.6, 95% Cl 1.2-2.1) and male gender (OR 4.3, 95% Cl 1.4-13.8); however, there was no association with hygiene measures (e.g. frequency of changing socks or sleeping with socks) or the length of military service. Conclusion: Tinea pedis is highly prevalent in Israeli soldiers. Association of tinea pedis with the setting of military training suggests that contagious spread may be an important risk factor. We suggest that environmental interventions should be planned to in order to decrease the morbidity of tinea pedis among soldiers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1002-1005
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Dermatology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


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