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November 1959

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

Author Affiliations

Bridgeport, Conn.

Associate Attending Physician, Medical Service, Bridgeport Hospital; formerly, Clinical Instructor in Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine (Dr. Wasserman). Assistant Attending Ophthalmologist, Bridgeport Hospital; Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, Yale University School of Medicine (Dr. Glass).

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;104(5):787-792. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270110107014

This syndrome is characterized by a variation in skin reaction, involvement of the mucous membranes, severe ophthalmia, and a marked general reaction. Stevens and Johnson, in 1922,1 described two cases of dramatic onset with fever, conjunctivitis, and a cutaneous eruption, which thereafter has been known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, or erythema multiforme exudativum.

The present case is of interest not only because of complete recovery from the severe skin, mucous membrane, and eye lesions but also because of the possibility that the etiological agent was the Type A Japanese (Asian) influenza virus.

Report of Case  A 35-year-old housewife developed mild coryza and a nonproductive cough two weeks prior to hospital admission. She took, of her own accord, four tetracycline phosphate complex (Tetrex) capsules, and gradually her symptoms subsided. Two days prior to admission, a sore throat and fever appeared. One day before admission, a severe cough reappeared, the sore throat