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Arch Dermatol. 1998 Apr;134(4):439-44.

Clinical, pathologic, and immunologic features of human T-lymphotrophic virus type I-associated infective dermatitis in children.

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Department of Medicine, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica.



To define the clinical and laboratory features associated with infective dermatitis (ID) and confirm its association with human T-lymphotrophic virus type I (HTLV-I).


A case series of patients with ID were compared with patients with atopic dermatitis (AD), which is an important disease in the differential diagnosis of ID.


Patients were recruited from dermatology and pediatric clinics at the University Hospital of the West Indies and the Bustamante Children's Hospital, Kingston, Jamaica.


Clinical and laboratory features of patients with AD were compared with those of patients with ID.


Consecutive patients older than 1 1/2 years diagnosed as having ID (n=50) and AD (n=35) were enrolled based on clinical findings.


The mean ages of patients with ID and AD were 6.9 and 7.8 years, respectively. Histologically, both diseases were predominantly chronic dermatitis with propensity for skin colonization with Staphylococcus aureus and beta-hemolytic streptococci; however, the distribution of sites of skin involvement differed. Infection with HTLV-I was the most distinguishing feature among patients with ID, with seropositive results in 100%; only 5 (14%) of the 35 patients with AD had results seropositive for HTLV-I. Infective dermatitis was further characterized by dermatopathic lymphadenitis in 16 (67%) of 24 patients with palpable nodes. Anemia, lymphocytosis, and low albumin and elevated serum globulin levels were more prevalent among patients with ID. Significant elevations of IgA, IgD, and IgG levels were observed among patients with ID compared with those with AD. However, both patients with AD and those with ID had levels of IgD and IgE elevated above the normal range. T-cell subsets among patients with ID revealed T-cell activation with a high percentage of HLA-DR antigen positivity, elevated CD4 (2.4 x 10(9)/L) and CD8 (1.4 x 10(9)/L) cell counts, with an increased CD4/CD8 ratio of 1:73.


Infective dermatitis is a distinct clinical entity associated with HTLV-I, which plays a role in the pathogenesis and immune perturbations observed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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