Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 
Home Print this page Email this page Small font size Default font size Increase font size Users Online: 534

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 153-155

First record of Aspergillus brunneus causing fingernail aspergillomycosis in a primary schoolchild

Department of Botany, University of Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Date of Submission30-Oct-2021
Date of Decision19-Jan-2022
Date of Acceptance20-Jan-2022
Date of Web Publication30-Mar-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anjali Sharma
Department of Botany, University of Jammu, Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpd.ijpd_150_21

Rights and Permissions

Onychomycosis among children has been reported to be of less common occurrence than in adults. However, species of Aspergillus are emerging as the new causative agents of onychomycosis. Here, we report a new case of fingernail aspergillomycosis in an 11-year-old schoolboy. The thumbnail of the patient demonstrated thickening, yellow discoloration, and onycholysis at the distal end. Culturing of the clinical nail sample on Sabouraud dextrose agar medium supplemented with chloramphenicol (0.05 mg/ml) produced yellowish-white colonies repeatedly on more than three consecutive occasions. Slide cultures showed uniseriate phialides covering two-third of the vesicle. Further, DNA sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer region confirmed its identity as Aspergillus brunneus. This is the first documented report of A. brunneus as an etiological agent of onychomycosis.

Keywords: Aspergillomycosis, Aspergillus brunneus, fingernail, onychomycosis

How to cite this article:
Sharma A, Sumbali G. First record of Aspergillus brunneus causing fingernail aspergillomycosis in a primary schoolchild. Indian J Paediatr Dermatol 2022;23:153-5

How to cite this URL:
Sharma A, Sumbali G. First record of Aspergillus brunneus causing fingernail aspergillomycosis in a primary schoolchild. Indian J Paediatr Dermatol [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 May 17];23:153-5. Available from: https://www.ijpd.in/text.asp?2022/23/2/153/341462

  Introduction Top

Aspergillomycosis is generally used to describe mycosis caused by Aspergillus species. A variety of human diseases are known to be caused by Aspergillus species, of which onychomycosis is of worldwide occurrence. According to published reports on the epidemiology of onychomycosis due to Aspergillus species, it has been shown that they constitute 7.7%–100% of the nondermatophytic onychomycosis in general population.[1]

However, cases of onychomycosis among children are comparatively less common than in adults, but their frequency is on the rise.[2],[3] Further, the prevalence of onychomycosis is much lower in children between 0 and 18 years of age, which may be due to their faster nail growth, smaller nail surface, lower prevalence of tinea pedis, and reduced exposure to fungi.[2] The prevalence of onychomycosis among children has been reported to range from 0.2% to 2.6%.[4] According to some reports, male children are more likely affected with onychomycosis than female children.[2]

In this communication, we report a new case of fingernail aspergillomycosis detected in a schoolboy of district Rajouri (UT of Jammu and Kashmir).

  Case Report Top

We report a case of onychomycosis of the thumbnail of the left hand in an 11-year-old schoolboy residing at Darhal, Rajouri district (J&K). He complained of progressive discoloration of the nail with mild pain for the past 6 months. Examination revealed a thickened nail with yellowish-brown discoloration of the complete nail plate with the presence of subungual hyperkeratosis [Figure 1]a. The proximal and the lateral nail folds with cuticle were normal. There was no history of any antecedent trauma or any other immunocompromised state. The rest of the general and clinical examination of the patient was normal. There was no significant past or family history. After taking proper consent and history of the patient, dystrophied nail clippings/scrapings were taken for the mycological examination (cultural and microscopic details) and later molecular characterization was done to confirm the identity of the nail pathogen. The sampled dystrophied nail clippings were cleaned with 70% ethanol, cultured on Sabouraud dextrose agar medium supplemented with chloramphenicol (0.05 mg/ml), and incubated at 28°C for up to 14 days. Repeated isolations on more than three consecutive occasions yielded a species of Aspergillus whose mycological and molecular identification was confirmed as Aspergillus brunneus Delacroix.
Figure 1: (a) Left-hand thumbnail showing yellowish-brown discoloration with the presence of onycholysis with subungual hyperkeratosis. (b) Colonies of Aspergillus brunneus on Czapek's yeast agar medium after 7 days of growth at 28°C. (c) Lactophenol cotton blue mount of Aspergillus brunneus showing uniseriate heads covering over two-third of the vesicle. (d) Variably shaped conidia in chains: globose to subglobose, tuberculate, and rough walled (Bars = 10 μm)

Click here to view

Colonies on Czapek's yeast agar medium were moderately deep, plane, margins entire, mycelium sulfur yellow, texture floccose, sporulation sparse; conidia en masse pale green, soluble pigments absent; exudates absent, reverse fulvous. Conidiophores with smooth stipes, hyaline or light brown, 700–1200 × 7–18 μm. Vesicles globose to subglobose, 32–58 μm wide, fertile over two-third of the entire surface. Phialides flask shaped 10–18.5 × 7–12.5 μm. Conidia globose to subglobose, tuberculate, 8–15 × 8–13 μm [Figure 1]b, [Figure 1]b, [Figure 1]c, [Figure 1]d.

Ribosomal ribonucleic acid gene sequencing was done for the molecular identification. The internal transcribed spacer sequences obtained were aligned using BLAST tool against the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) nucleotide database (http://blast.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/) for most homologous sequences. The percentage similarity of the pathogenic fungi using NCBI-BLASTn tool was above 99%. The fungal pathogen was identified as A. brunneus (Accession No. MT337603.1). The strain number given to this pathogen is AP-I. Sequences of the identity >90% were retrieved and aligned with the sequence of AP-I, using Clustal W module of Mega-X software. The evolutionary history was inferred by using the neighbor-joining method to obtain the phylogenetic tree. The tree authentication was designated in terms of bootstrap P values (above 50%) given at branch nodes. The fungus Corynespora cassiicola from the class Dothideomycetes was used as an outgroup [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Neighbor-joining tree of AP-I strain based on internal transcribed spacer sequences. Confidence values (above 50%) obtained from a 500-replicate bootstrap analysis are shown at branch nodes. Corynespora cassiicola was used as an outgroup

Click here to view

  Discussion Top

Aspergillus species are ubiquitous environmental molds found in the air, soil, water, and decaying vegetation. Onychomycosis due to Aspergillus species usually causes distal lateral subungual onychomycosis, and the toenails are 25 times more frequently involved than the fingernails because of increased exposure to soil, decaying vegetation, water, etc., where this mold frequently thrives.[5] Further, it has also been shown that among the people with fingernail and toenail aspergillomycosis, 85% had discolored nails, 89% were with brittle nails, and 93% were with hard nails and hyperkeratosis.[6]

Aspergillus onychomycosis has been observed more among individuals with occupational exposures.[5] According to Moore and Weiss,[7] Aspergillus infection starts underneath the nail near the hyponychium region where the spores get lodged or at the lateral nail folds and the diseased nail plate gets colonized. Although Aspergillus onychomycosis is uncommon in children,[2] Aspergillus niger has been isolated from a 3-year-old immunocompetent child with single nail mycosis.[8] Recently, Aspergillus species has also been reported in a neonate by Verma et al.[9] Onychomycosis in children between 0 and 18 years of age has also been reported by Kim et al.[10] who found concomitant tinea pedis infection and distal and lateral subungual onychomycosis to be the most common clinical type. As most of the children are careless about cleanliness of hands and feet, they may acquire fungal infections during sports activity, which may lead to nail trauma, or they may get infected through the contaminated environment.

In the present investigation, A. brunneus is being reported as a new case of fingernail aspergillomycosis. Earlier, A. niger, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus parasiticus, Aspergillus versicolor, Aspergillus sydowii, and Aspergillus persii have been reported as causal agents of onychomycosis among schoolchildren of other two districts (Jammu and Doda) of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. So far, there is no documented report of A. brunneus as an etiological agent of onychomycosis and can be considered as a new addition to the list of aspergilli causing onychomycosis. The study implicates that there is a need for careful mycological examination of children diagnosed with nail dystrophies.

Declaration of consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate consent forms, duly signed by the parent(s) of the patient. In the form the parent(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for the images and other clinical information of their child to be reported in the journal. The parents understand that the names and initials of their child will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.


The authors are thankful to the Head, Department of Botany, University of Jammu (India), for providing laboratory facilities and to the University Grants Commission (UGC), Special Assistance Programme (SAP-II), New Delhi (India), for providing financial assistance during the period of research.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Bongomin F, Batac CR, Richardson MD, Denning DW. A review of onychomycosis due to Aspergillus species. Mycopathologia 2018;183:485-93.  Back to cited text no. 1
Romano C, Papini M, Ghilardi A, Gianni C. Onychomycosis in children: A survey of 46 cases. Mycoses 2005;48:430-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
Rodríguez-Pazos L, Pereiro-Ferreirós MM, Pereiro M Jr., Toribio J. Onychomycosis observed in children over a 20-year period. Mycoses 2011;54:450-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
Totri CR, Feldstein S, Admani S, Friedlander SF, Eichenfield LF. Epidemiologic analysis of onychomycosis in the San Diego pediatric population. Pediatr Dermatol 2017;34:46-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
Banu A, Anand M, Eswari L. A rare case of onychomycosis in all 10 fingers of an immunocompetent patient. Indian Dermatol Online J 2013;4:302-4.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Wijesuriya TM, Kottahachchi J, Gunasekara TD, Bulugahapitiya U, Ranasinghe KN, Neluka Fernando SS, et al. Aspergillus species: An emerging pathogen in onychomycosis among diabetics. Indian J Endocrinol Metab 2015;19:811-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
Moore M, Weiss RS. Onychomycosis caused by Aspergillus terreus. J Invest Dermatol 1948;11:215-23.  Back to cited text no. 7
Samir MS, Asha GS, Madhu SM, Nataraja HV, Lakshmi DV. Encounter with an unusual organism in a 3-year-old child with onychomycosis. Indian J Paediatr Dermatol 2016;17:312-4.  Back to cited text no. 8
  [Full text]  
Verma K, Tegta GR, Verma G, Verma S. A rare case of onychomycosis due to Aspergillus species in a neonate. Indian J Paediatr Dermatol 2019;20:249-51.  Back to cited text no. 9
  [Full text]  
Kim DM, Suh MK, Ha GY. Onychomycosis in children: An experience of 59 cases. Ann Dermatol 2013;25:327-34.  Back to cited text no. 10


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Case Report
Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded11    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal