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April 1977

Acne FulminansInvestigation of Acute Febrile Ulcerative Acne

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Philadelphia.

Arch Dermatol. 1977;113(4):444-449. doi:10.1001/archderm.1977.01640040052007

• Eight cases of acne fulminans (acute febrile ulcerative acne) are compared with 13 previously reported cases. This rare disorder of male teenage patients is characterized by the sudden appearance of highly inflammatory, tender, ulcerative and crusted lesions on the back, chest, and face: it is one of the most scarring acute dermatologic disorders of young patients. At the onset of the disease, all patients showed febrile temperatures and marked leukocytosis; other systemic symptoms occurred with varying frequency. Polyarthralgia was noted in half of our series.

Investigations of potential trigger mechanisms (eg, septisemia due to Corynebacterium acnes, immunologic defects, altered polymorphonuclear leukocyte function, Shwartzman phenomenon) did not yield any clues regarding the pathogenesis of this disease. Clinical and laboratory findings suggest that acne fulminans is not directly related to acne conglobata.

(Arch Dermatol 113:444-449, 1977)