Lessons From Everywhere

Tokelau on Naboo

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7276.1619 (Published 23 December 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1619
  1. Scott A Norton ([email protected]), dermatologist
  1. 7506 Tarrytown Road, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, USA

Tinea imbricata, a superficial fungal infection of man, has an ornate appearance composed of concentric circles and polycyclic or serpiginous scaly plaques (fig 1). The condition is common in several humid tropical regions, especially in parts of Polynesia and Melanesia. It is also reported occasionally in the Amazon basin and other tropical areas in both hemispheres. 1 2 The precise distribution of tinea imbricata, however, has been poorly defined ever since the disease was named by Sir Patrick Manson, the father of tropical medicine. 3 4

Fig 1.

“We discover a pattern … as if the disease had advanced in parallel and concentric lines from a great many different centres”—Patrick Manson4

I report the possible presence of tinea imbricata outside its previously known geographic and taxonomic distribution. Several Gungan inhabitants of Naboo, a planet of the Galactic Republic depicted in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, have skin with the distinctive annular and polycyclic pattern of tinea imbricata. Jar Jar Binks, a Gungan who figures prominently in this movie, shows this eruption in figure 2. Manson wrote of the infection, “Again, tinea imbricata, if it has been in existence any length of time, involves a very large surface, as an entire limb, or side of the trunk, or oftener still, if not checked, nearly the whole surface of the body … As advancing rings spread, their regularity is modified by the shape of the parts, the nature of the skin they travel over, and by encountering other systems of rings.” …

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