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October 9, 1967

The Scalded Skin Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Dermatology, University of Oregon Medical School, Portland.

JAMA. 1967;202(2):137. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130150105021

The infant shown in Fig 1 and the adult in Fig 2 had much in common. Both had fever and would not allow the skin to be touched; in both a bright erythema suddenly erupted. From its early beginnings around the mouth, the redness spread within hours to cover most of the body and intensified to the color of a scald. As the redness extended to the limbs, large flaccid blisters appeared on the older areas and quickly ruptured or filled with pus.

Moderate lateral pressure on unblistered skin caused the epidermis to slide off, leaving an oozing reddened denuded surface. Both were treated with antibiotics, steroids, and supportive measures. (Both had remissions in the fever.) Both showed improvement of the skin within four to five days. Both died within a week of the onset of the red reaction.

The acute diffuse erythema and blistering described above is aptly called