This title has been given to many itching cutaneous affections occurring in tropical countries, including the Philippine Islands. Although it is questionable if it is a disease per se, the term is more properly used to designate an itching eruption of the crotch, axillae and feet of a ringworm or intertrigo-like nature. No matter what the degree of dermatitis, there is usually a festooned, irregular border. Itching is usually marked and hence blebs, boils, abscesses and even a cellulitis may result from secondary bacterial infection. It is usually a disease of hot, moist seasons, and will subside or disappear on the advent of cool weather or if the patient returns to a cold climate. Often a dry scaly pigmentation persists, only to return on climatic provocation.
Etiology. This affection is variously caused by the trichophyton, microsporon furfur, microsporon minutissimum and the germ of Manson’s pemphigus contagiosus. It is even probable that in some cases it might be considered a dermatitis seborrhoica with added pus infection.
Prognosis and Treatment. The duration of this disease depends largely upon the promptness with which it is treated. The means employed are of an antiparasitic nature and invariably succeed although I have seen aggravated forms prove most stubborn. Tincture of iodin, tincture of the leaves of cassia lata, 5 to 10 per cent. chrysarobin ointment, 10 per cent. salicylic acid ointment, 10 per cent. epicarin ointment, and mercuric chlorid solution (1:1000), have all been recommended. Cases treated in temperate climates need less severe methods. From a personal observation of nearly one hundred cases of this condition, mostly occurring in former soliders, sailor or residents of our tropical possessions, I have found the prescription of the three acids-salicylic, carbolic and tannic-as suggested under the treatment of tinea cruris, most efficacious. Tonic treatment is often indicated and hosptial care is invariably the best for long-standing and severe cases especially if secondary infections is pronounced.
Prophylactic treatment embraces disinfection of the underwear, thorough cleanliness, and the frequent use of powder of equal parts of zinc oxid, boric acid and starch. I have used Arsenic, Hepar sulphur, Graphites, Mezereum, and Sulphur internally.