Tropical sprue occurs with some frequency in Singapore and recently various dermatoses, such as dermatitis herpetiformis, have been shown to be associated with intestinal malabsorption. Because of this it was decided to screen for evidence of malabsorption those patients presenting dermatoses for the first time since coming to Singapore. This was detected frequently in one group of patients with eczematous dermatitis of the hands and feet (EDHF group) who were mostly women. Malabsorption was not found to be associated with other common dermatoses. In many of the EDHF group the laboratory findings were consistent with early tropical sprue. These patients had previously failed to respond to topically applied corticosteroids and resolution of the lesions and enteropathy occurred simultaneously when they were given in addition a sprue treatment regime consisting of ampicillin and vitamin supplements.
Hindson TC. Dermatitis of Hands and Feet: Associated With Intestinal Malabsorption in British Service Families in Singapore. Arch Dermatol. 1970;102(6):624–630. doi:10.1001/archderm.1970.04000120042007
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