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September 2015

Pellagra’s Three DsDermatology, Death, and Dracula

Author Affiliations
  • 1George Washington School of Medicine and Health Science, Washington, DC
  • 2Department of Dermatology, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC
JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(9):951. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.1358

Head to the movies, turn on your TV, flip through popular magazines and best-selling books. One does not need to go far to see that we’ve been fascinated with vampires for centuries. So, what are the origins of vampire legends? Not surprisingly, many health professionals have ascribed vampire folklore to particular diseases (including rabies, xeroderma pigmentosum, tuberculosis, and erythropoietic porphyria).1 Others have argued that the archetypal vampire image was partly shaped by the dermatologic effects of pellagra.

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