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January 1986

The Pathogenic Role of Microbes in Seborrheic Dermatitis

Author Affiliations

Division of Dermatology Department of Medicine University of Tennessee 956 Court, Room 3F13 Memphis, TN 38163

Arch Dermatol. 1986;122(1):16. doi:10.1001/archderm.1986.01660130018009

To the Editor.—  The review of skin infections in the immunocompromised host in a recent issue of the Archives1 omitted what is probably the most common example of that occurrence, ie, the frequent appearance of seborrheic dermatitis in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).2 Despite the objections that have been expressed about the role of microbes in the pathogenesis of seborrheic dermatitis,3 there is now over-whelming evidence in favor of microbes playing a pathogenic role,4-8 and a recent reviewer has declared the argument ended.9 In our own experience, AIDS-related seborrheic dermatitis is associated with large numbers of Malassezia organisms on affected sites and responds rapidly to treatment with 2% ketoconazole cream, thus providing further evidence of a microbial origin.10

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