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New sexually transmitted form of ringworm reported in New York City. Here's what you need to know.

What doctors know about the new sexually transmitted form of ringworm reported in NYC
What doctors know about the new sexually transmitted form of ringworm reported in NYC 02:00

NEW YORK -- A sexually transmitted form of ringworm recently made its way into the United States.  So far, there has only been one reported case -- a patient in New York City.

What is the new sexually transmitted ringworm?

Trichophyton mentagrophytes type VII, or TMVII, is a sexually transmitted infection that can appear in the groin area and can be itchy. It looks like a circular red patch of skin.

Dr. Avrom Caplan, an assistant professor at New York University, led the study and authored the report published in the journal JAMA Dermatology earlier this week.

"What makes this case a little bit different is it is a type of ringworm that can cause more inflammatory-type lesions, and it can occur in the groin area or the genital area," he said.

It's an infection that comes from the same fungus linked to conditions like ringworm, jock itch and athlete's foot.

Where has TMVII been reported?

So far, the one reported case in the United States is in New York City.

The study says the patient -- a man in his 30s -- noticed itchy lesions after a trip to England, Greece and California, where he said he had sex with multiple male partners.

Cases popped up last year in France. Earlier cases were linked to those in contact with sex workers in southeast Asia.

"It was reported in a journal, which tells you that it's new. We're still learning about it ... Because it's just this one case, I think we're really starting to understand how could this have happened," said Dr. Ashwin Vasan, New York City's Department of Health commissioner.  

How do you know if you have TMVII?

The superficial skin infection is spreadable through skin-to-skin contact during sex.

"If they have a persistent itchy or painful lesion or eruption around the genital area or buttocks, that's when they should be seeking medical advice," Caplan said.

The rash could be mistaken for other conditions, and if left untreated or improperly treated, it could lead to infection.

How do you treat TMVII?

Doctors say it is treatable thanks to antifungal therapies.

Vasan says the doctor's office is always judgment-free.  

"Shame always gets in the way of getting healthy, so I would say never feel ashamed to go reach out to your doctor," he said.

Doctors say communicating with your partner about having conditions like this is key in preventing the spread.

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