Onychomycosis in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus in Africa: A Global Scoping Review, 2000–2021

Article Authors: Bassey E. Ekeng, Winnie Kibone, Asa E. Itam-Eyo & Felix Bongomin


Onychomycosis is commonly studied in Africa but not in patients with diabetics despite having a significant number of her population living with diabetes mellitus (DM). Our review highlights a total of 15 studies with only two from Africa over the past two decades; 8 (53.3%) from Asia, 4 (26.7%) from Europe, 2 (13.3%) from Africa and 1 (6.7%) from North America. A total number of 4321 participants were involved with onychomycosis prevalence of 35.3% (1527/4321). Seven studies documented preponderance of onychomycosis in males, one showed preponderance in females, one showed no statistically significant difference in gender, while correlation with gender was unclear in the remainder. The risk factors identified were duration of diabetes, increasing age, occupation (agriculture), subclinical atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome, obesity, triglyceride levels, and glycosylated haemoglobin. Three case control studies showed a statistically significant correlation between onychomycosis and individuals with DM. Diagnosis was mainly by microscopy and culture with Trichophyton (T) rubrum as the predominant isolate. Fungal nail infections are grossly underdiagnosed and/or underreported in Africa and hence the need for improved awareness and diagnosis especially in patients with DM. Although focused on Africa, this study also revealed paucity of data on onychomycosis in diabetic patients living in the Americas despite evidence from the literature showing a significant number of individuals from that region are living with diabetes. The need to evaluate this at-risk population for onychomycosis cannot be over emphasized.

Bibliographical metadata

Volume 188
Pages 173-182
Related Faculties/Schools