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Br J Dermatol. 2004 Oct;151(4):907-11.

Whipple's disease presenting with symmetrical panniculitis.

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Department of Dermatology, King's College Hospital, Denmark, Hill, London SE5 9RS, UK.


Specific cutaneous involvement in Whipple's disease is extremely rare. The condition usually runs a chronic course, with symptoms preceding diagnosis by years or even decades. We report a 44-year-old man who presented with a rapid onset of progressive, extensive, symmetrical plaques of panniculitis affecting the inner thighs and forearms. He had accompanying large joint arthritis and was profoundly anaemic. Biopsy of the subcutis revealed a florid septal panniculitis with infiltration of the septa by foamy macrophages containing intracellular granules that stained strongly with periodic acid-Schiff reagent. A similar but more intense infiltrate was seen in the small bowel lamina propria, and a diagnosis of Whipple's disease was made. Symmetrical panniculitis has not previously been reported as a manifestation of Whipple's disease.

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