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Int J Gynecol Pathol. 2012 Jul;31(4):390-4. doi: 10.1097/PGP.0b013e31823f8463.

Bartonella quintana-induced vulval bacillary angiomatosis.

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Department of Anatomical Pathology, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.


Bacillary angiomatosis (BA) is an increasingly reported infection, mainly in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Different epidemiological risk factors are associated with the transmission of the causative agents, Bartonella henselae and B. quintana. Vulval BA is described rarely. Two patients presented with a vulval mass (Patient 1) and a verrucous vulval growth (Patient 2), which were diagnosed clinically as tuberculosis and carcinoma, respectively. Patient 1 also had pulmonary tuberculosis and Kaposi sarcoma. Biopsy of the vulval lesions confirmed BA, characterized by a multilobular proliferation of blood vessels that were lined by epithelioid endothelial cells. There were prominent intervascular neutrophils, karyorrhectic debris, and clumps of paravascular argyrophilic organisms. The biopsy from Patient 1 was deep dermal/subcutaneous in location and displayed foci of confluent suppuration. There was florid pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia in the biopsy from Patient 2. Molecular investigations confirmed intralesional B. quintana, hitherto unreported in vulval BA, as the causative agent in both biopsies. On follow-up, Patient 2 had developed additional lesions in the vulva and thigh, but all her lesions and the vulval mass (Patient 1) responded to erythromycin treatment. Patient 1 succumbed to tuberculosis. Heightened recognition of BA underpins rapid and optimal clinicopathological diagnosis, even in uncommon locations. Identification of the causative Bartonella species is important for appropriate, interventive social management.

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