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Br J Dermatol. 1997 May;136(5):747-51.

Molecular diagnosis of deep nodular bacillary angiomatosis and monitoring of therapeutic success.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany.


A 51-year-old human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive male patient (CDC stage 3C) had had a painful nodule on his external ankle joint for 10 months. A biopsy suggested bacillary angiomatosis, but Kaposi's sarcoma could not be excluded. Rods were detectable in lesional skin by a Warthin-Starry stain. A 298 base pair (bp) gene fragment specific for Bartonella species was amplified from lesional skin and direct nucleotide sequence analysis of the amplification product clearly identified Bartonella quintana. Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus specific DNA was not amplifiable by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in our patient, suggesting that the lesion represented bacillary angiomatosis alone, despite clinical and histopathological features which suggested the coexistence of bacillary angiomatosis and Kaposi's sarcoma. The lesion regressed after erythromycin was prescribed. However, 4 and 9 weeks after initiation of therapy, PCR still yielded a positive result in material obtained by a swab. After complete healing, following 12 weeks of antibiotic therapy, PCR became consistently negative. The optimal length of antibiotic treatment in HIV-positive patients with bacillary angiomatosis is not yet known and inadequate therapy may be followed by disseminated disease and a fatal outcome. PCR-based monitoring of the success of treatment is valuable for determining the duration of treatment resulting in a cure.

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