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May 8, 1967


JAMA. 1967;200(6):547. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120190173030

The scalded-skin syndrome is perhaps the most spectacular of all dermatologic events—an almost explosive shedding of the superficial layers of the skin, resembling a scald, and exposing vast areas of an oozing, red, tender surface. This has been described as Ritter's disease in newborn infants and as Lyell's disease in children and adults. Ritter's disease has long been attributed by pediatricians to bacteria, while dermatologists have tended to regard Lyell's disease as an allergic reaction, often due to a drug.

A clue to the relationship between Ritter's and Lyell's diseases has recently been brought to light by Lowney et al,1 in a recent issue of the Archives of Dermatology. They report the cases of four small children in which the scalded-skin syndrome was associated with group 2 staphylococcal infection, confirming two previous reports of the same association. It is group 2 staphylococci which were shown by Rycheck et al