The tinea capitis campaign in Serbia in the 1950s

Shifra Shvarts, Goran Sevo, Marija Tasic, Mordechai Shani, Siegal Sadetzki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In this Historical Review we describe the 1950-59 UNICEF-supported campaign to eliminate tinea capitis, also known as ringworm, in Yugoslavia. Medical treatment for this infectious disease involved the use of ionising radiation. We discuss the possible health implications for the treated population. Data were collected from archive documents, newspapers from the 1950s, Yugoslavian scientific reports, interviews with patients who received treatment, and interviews with physicians who gave treatment during the campaign. The campaign screened 878 659 individuals and treated 49 389. On the basis of Israeli tinea capitis research, late health consequences (mainly cancer in the irradiated area) can be expected in the treated Serbian population. The discovery of treatment records for a substantial number of patients makes public-health action and further research possible. The findings are relevant to the Serbian medical community and populations in other countries that used a radiation-based technique for the treatment of tinea capitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-576
Number of pages6
JournalThe Lancet Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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