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February 1991

Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Associated Eosinophilic Folliculitis: A Unique Dermatosis Associated With Advanced Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology (Drs Rosenthal, LeBoit, and Berger and Mr Klumpp) and Pathology (Dr LeBoit), University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco.

Arch Dermatol. 1991;127(2):206-209. doi:10.1001/archderm.1991.01680020074008

• We studied 13 patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and a chronic pruritic folliculitis that was unresponsive to systemic treatment with bactericidal antistaphylococcal antibiotics. The skin eruption was characterized by multiple urticarial follicular papules scattered on the trunk (100%), the head and neck (85%), and the proximal aspect of the extremities (62%). Absolute peripheral eosinophil counts were increased in six of 13 patients; a relative peripheral eosinophilia was present in 10 of 13 patients. Serum IgE levels were elevated in all seven patients tested (range, 88 to 9050 IU). Histopathologic features included a folliculitis with eosinophils. Pathogenic bacteria were not consistently found by routine bacterial skin cultures, cultures of skin biopsy specimens, or histopathologic evaluation. CD4 counts were decreased in all of the 12 patients tested (<300 cells per cubic millimeter) and were below 250 cells per cubic millimeter in 10 patients. A clinical response was noted to astemizole, to ultraviolet light in the B range, and to topical clobetasol propionate. These observations demonstrate that HIV-associated eosinophilic folliculitis is a unique HIV-related cutaneous disorder that is characterized by a culture-negative, chronic, pruritic folliculitis and a characteristic histopathologic picture. Of special importance, because it is associated with CD4 counts of less than 250 to 300 cells per cubic millimeter, eosinophilic folliculitis appears to be an important clinical marker of HIV infection and, particularly, of patients at increased risk of developing opportunistic infections. We suggest that the term eosinophilic pustular folliculitis (Ofuji's disease), previously used to describe this dermatosis in HIV-infected patients, should be discarded.

(Arch Dermatol. 1991;127:206-209)

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