Etiology of Pruritic Papular Eruption With HIV Infection in Uganda

Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 35.29). 01/2005; 292(21):2614-21. DOI: 10.1001/jama.292.21.2614
Source: PubMed


A frequent cause of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa is a commonly occurring, intensely pruritic skin rash. The resulting scars are disfiguring and stigmatizing. Despite the substantial prevalence of pruritic papular eruption (PPE) among HIV-infected Africans, the cause has been elusive.
To determine the etiology of PPE occurring in HIV-infected individuals.
Cross-sectional study of HIV-infected patients with active PPE from clinics in Uganda conducted from May 19 through June 6, 2003. Enrollment occurred in the month preceding May 19. Each participant was clinically examined by 2 dermatologists, had laboratory studies performed, was administered an epidemiologic questionnaire, and had a skin biopsy of a new lesion evaluated by a dermatopathologist.
Histological characteristics of new pruritic lesions. Other assessments included CD4 cell count, eosinophil count, and physician-assessed rash severity.
Of 109 patients meeting inclusion criteria, 102 (93.6%) completed the study. The CD4 cell counts in this study population were generally low (median, 46/microL) and inversely related to increasing rash severity (median CD4 cell counts: 122 for mild, 41 for moderate, and 9 for severe; P<.001 for trend). Eighty-six patients (84%; 95% confidence interval, 77%-91%) had biopsy findings characteristic of arthropod bites. Patients with arthropod bites on biopsy had significantly higher peripheral eosinophil counts (median, 330 vs 180/microL; P = .02) and had a trend toward lower CD4 cell counts (median, 40 vs 99/microL; P = .07) than those without histological evidence of arthropod bites.
Pruritic papular eruption occurring in HIV-infected individuals may be a reaction to arthropod bites. We hypothesize that this condition reflects an altered and exaggerated immune response to arthropod antigens in a subset of susceptible HIV-infected patients.

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Available from: Philip E Leboit
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    • "CD4 counts in our PPE study population are higher on average than what has been previously reported [5–7]. This may be related to patients presenting to GHTM for HIV care at earlier stages of the disease. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Papulopruritic eruption (PPE) occurs in people living with HIV in India. Understanding the risk factors associated with this disease may help decrease the prevalence of PPE. Methods This study was a case-control study performed at the Government Hospital of Thoracic Medicine, a tertiary care hospital in Chennai, India. Cases included HIV-positive, antiretroviral (ARV) therapy-naïve adults experiencing a pruritic skin eruption for longer than one month, with evidence of multiple papular or nodular lesions and biopsy consistent with arthropod bite. Controls included HIV-positive, ARV-naïve patients without active skin rash. Main outcome measures were CD4 cell count, histology, and environmental exposures. We performed statistical analysis using Epi Info version 3.5.1 and SPSS version 11.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL). Categorical variables such as gender, urban versus rural residence, occupation, treatment history, CD4 count, use of insect repellents, and environmental exposures were evaluated using the χ2 test (or the Fisher exact test when an expected value for a category was less than 5). The t-test was used to evaluate differences in age and the duration since HIV diagnosis. The Mann-Whitney test was used to compare non-normally distributed values such as CD4 cell count. A p-value that was less than 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. Results Forty-one cases and 149 control subjects were included. Subjects with PPE had significantly lower CD4 cell counts compared to controls (225.5 cells/µL vs. 425 cells/µL; p=0.0001). Sixty-six percent of cases had a CD4 cell count less than 350 cells/µL. PPE cases were less likely to use mosquito repellent techniques (odds ratio 2.81, CI = 1.45–5.45). Discussion PPE may be an altered and exaggerated immune response to arthropod bites in HIV-positive patients. CD4 cell count is significantly lower in patients with PPE, and therefore it may be considered a qualifying clinical finding for ARV initiation in resource-poor settings. Protective measures against mosquito bites appeared to be important in preventing PPE in subjects at risk.
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    • "Some of the systemic diseases that can be suspected through cutaneous manifestations include chronic renal failure, endocrine disorders, lymphomas, nutritional deficiencies and HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has increased the number of hospital admissions worldwide, particularly in sub Saharan Africa and has been associated with a wide range of dermatological syndromes [16-18]. Cutaneous malignancies, candidiasis, dermatophytoses, molluscum contagiosum, seborrheic dermatitis and pruritic papular eruption have been frequently reported in individuals with HIV/AIDS, seen as inpatients or outpatients [19]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Skin diseases are underestimated and overlooked by most clinicians despite being common in clinical practice. Many patients are hospitalized with co-existing dermatological conditions which may not be detected and managed by the attending physicians. The objective of this study was to determine the burden of co-existing and overlooked dermatological disorders among patients admitted to medical wards of Muhimbili National hospital in Dar es Salaam. A hospital-based descriptive cross-sectional study conducted at Muhimbili National hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Patients were consecutively recruited from the medical wards. Detailed interview to obtain clinico-demographic characteristics was followed by a complete physical examination. Dermatological diagnoses were made mainly clinically. Appropriate confirmatory laboratory investigations were performed where necessary. Data was analyzed using the 'Statistical Package for Social Sciences' (SPSS) program version 10.0. A p-value of < 0.5 was statistically significant. Three hundred and ninety patients admitted to medical wards were enrolled into the study of whom, 221(56.7%) were females. The mean age was 36.7 ± 17.9 (range 7-84 years). Overall, 232/390 patients (59.5%) had co-existing dermatological disorders with 49% (191/390) having one, 9% (36/390) two and 5 patients (1%) three. A wide range of co-existing skin diseases was encountered, the most diverse being non-infectious conditions which together accounted for 36.4% (142/390) while infectious dermatoses accounted for 31.5% (123/390). The leading infectious skin diseases were superficial fungal infections accounting for 18%. Pruritic papular eruption of HIV/AIDS (PPE) and seborrheic eczema were the most common non-infectious conditions, each accounting for 4.3%. Of the 232/390 patients with dermatological disorders, 191/232 (82.3%) and 154/232 (66.3%) had been overlooked by their referring and admitting doctors respectively. Dermatological disorders are common among patients admitted to medical wards and many are not detected by their referring or admitting physicians. Basic dermatological education should be emphasized to improve knowledge and awareness among clinicians.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2011 · BMC Dermatology
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    • "Noteworthy, secondary manifestations of HIV-1 infection are more prevalent than primary ones. For example, in Africa, the most prevalent skin disorder in HIV-1/AIDS patients is prurigo nodularis [23-25], a pruritic condition associated with insect bites [26]. In several other countries, mucocutaneous candidiasis and herpes zoster infections are the leading cause of skin disorders in these patients [27,28]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Since the first reports of AIDS, skin involvement has become a burdensome stigma for seropositive patients and a challenging task for dermatologist and infectious disease specialists due to the severe and recalcitrant nature of the conditions. Dermatologic manifestations in AIDS patients act as markers of disease progression, a fact that enhances the importance of understanding their pathogenesis. Broadly, cutaneous disorders associated with HIV type-1 infection can be classified as primary and secondary. While the pathogenesis of secondary complications, such as opportunistic infections and skin tumours, is directly correlated with a decline in the CD4+ T cell count, the origin of the certain manifestations primarily associated with the retroviral infection itself still remains under investigation. The focus of this review is to highlight the immunological phenomena that occur in the skin of HIV-1-seropositive patients, which ultimately lead to skin disorders, such as seborrhoeic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and eosinophilic folliculitis. Furthermore, we compile the latest data on how shifts in the cytokines milieu, impairments of the innate immune compartment, reactions to xenobiotics and autoimmunity are causative agents in HIV-1-driven skin diseases. Additionally, we provide a thorough analysis of the small animal models currently used to study HIV-1-associated skin complications, centering on transgenic rodent models, which unfortunately, have not been able to fully unveil the role of HIV-1 genes in the pathogenesis of their primarily associated dermatological manifestations.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Journal of the International AIDS Society
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