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Seegräber, Marlene; Worm, Margitta; Werfel, Thomas; Svensson, A.; Novak, Natalija; Simon, Dagmar; Darsow, Ulf; Augustin, M. and Wollenberg, Andreas (2020): Recurrent eczema herpeticum – a retrospective European multicenter study evaluating the clinical characteristics of eczema herpeticum cases in atopic dermatitis patients. In: Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, Vol. 34, No. 5: pp. 1074-1079 [PDF, 304kB]


Background Eczema herpeticum (EH ) is a disseminated viral infection of eczematous skin disease with the herpes simplex virus. Knowledge on clinical characteristics, risk factors and recurrent disease is limited. Our aim was to better define clinical characteristics and risk factors for EH and especially for recurrent EH .

Methods A retrospective analysis of EH cases assessed the history, clinical signs, prior treatment and laboratory results using a predefined questionnaire.

Results A total of 224 EH cases from eight European centres were included. Extrinsic AD was identified as risk factor for EH , and only one patient suffered from intrinsic AD . Early onset of AD was identified as risk factor for recurrent EH . Pretreatment with topical steroids, systemic steroids, topical calcineurin inhibitors or plain emollients reflected standard therapy. Many patients showed AD lesions without EH , but skin without AD lesions was never affected by herpetic lesions.

Conclusion Patients with clinically active, extrinsic AD are at risk of EH . Recurrent EH is associated with confounders of severe atopic distortion and requires active AD lesions for clinical manifestation. Recurrent eczema herpeticum mainly affects patients with early onset of AD .

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