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October 11, 1952


JAMA. 1952;150(6):585. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.63680060004015b

Erythema nodosum is a disease characterized by transitory nodules on the skin that resemble bruises; there is often fever, with or without migratory arthritis. In the older literature, erythema nodosum was considered a common expression of tuberculosis and rheumatic fever1; in patients with erythema nodosum in whom definitive evidence of tuberculosis or rheumatic fever could not be demonstrated it was nevertheless common practice to regard these patients as suspect. At present, it is known that erythema nodosum occurs with numerous diseases, including tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, streptococcic infections, coccidioidomycosis, infectious exanthems, sarcoidosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, leprosy, lymphogranuloma venereum, chancroid, and drug sensitivities. It is regarded as a disease of hypersensitivity in which the sensitizing agent may be bacterial, toxic, or chemical.2 The severity and duration of the disease vary. Usually, recovery occurs in two to five weeks after onset, but the illness may last for months.

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