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Lower Extremity Rash Presenting After a Trip to South Africa


Am Fam Physician. 2016 Jun 15;93(12):1021-1024.

A 69-year-old man presented with unsteadiness, fever, chills, and a rash on his right lower extremity. He had recently returned from a trip to South Africa. He developed nausea and vomiting secondary to his disequilibrium, as well as blurry vision. After treatment with cephalexin (Keflex), ceftriaxone, and cefpodoxime, there was no improvement in the rash or associated symptoms. He did not develop leukocytosis. The patient was an arborist and had close contact with trees and other vegetation. While he was in South Africa, he went on safaris outside of urban areas.

On physical examination, the patient had a horizontal nystagmus with lateral gaze bilaterally. There were two aphthous ulcers on the buccal mucosa. There was a scattered, blanching maculopapular rash on his anterior and posterior trunk and his extremities. There was also a deeply erythematous, macular, conluent nonblanching rash on the right lower extremity that was circumferential (Figure 1). The rash was warm and tender to palpation. A satellite lesion appeared as a pustular eschar with a surrounding rim of erythema (Figure 2), superior to the right lateral malleolus.

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Figure 1.

Figure 1.

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Figure 2.

Figure 2.


Based on the patient's history and physical examination findings, which one of the following is the most likely diagnosis?

A. African tick-bite

Address correspondence to Diana Wilkins, MD, at Reprints are not available from the authors.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial affiliations.


show all references

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This series is coordinated by John E. Delzell Jr., MD, MSPH, Assistant Medical Editor.

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