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J Pediatr. 2012 Oct;161(4):671-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.03.057. Epub 2012 May 9.

Eczema herpeticum in children: clinical features and factors predictive of hospitalization.

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Division of Pediatrics, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



To describe the clinical characteristics of pediatric patients with eczema herpeticum and to determine the predictors of hospitalization, and recurrence and repeat episodes.


A retrospective cohort study of patients 0-18 years of age diagnosed with eczema herpeticum between May 2000 and April 2009 was carried out at a tertiary pediatric care center in Canada. Seventy-nine patients were included. The primary outcome was hospitalization; secondary outcomes were recurrent and repeat episodes of eczema herpeticum.


At presentation, 76% of 79 patients with eczema herpeticum had a generalized eruption, 56% had fever, 37% had systemic symptoms, and 10% had eye involvement (keratoconjunctivitis). Forty-five patients (57%) were hospitalized. Predictors for hospitalization included male sex (OR = 3.09; 95% CI, 1.20-7.95, P = .017), fever (OR = 5.75; 95% CI, 2.17-15.26, P < .001), systemic symptoms (OR = 2.84; 95% CI, 1.06-7.62, P = .035), and age <1 year (OR = 7.17; 95% CI, 2.17-23.72, P = .001). Recurrence rate (<1 month) was 8.9% and rate of repeat episodes (>1 month) was 16%. Hospitalized patients were more likely to have a repeat episode (OR = 8.25; 95% CI, 0.99-68.69, P = .05). Patients with a previous history of eczema herpeticum had increased likelihood of early recurrence (OR = 6.80; 95% CI, 0.99-46.62, P = .05) and repeat episodes (OR = 9.43; 95% CI, 1.52-55.9, P = .01).


Predictors of hospitalization in this cohort included male sex, age <1 year, fever, and systemic symptoms at presentation. Hospitalized patients may be at risk for repeat episodes of eczema herpeticum.

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