A Burning Red Rash
Am Fam Physician. 2017 Oct 15;96(8):543-544.
A 43-year-old man presented with a painful rash on the chest and back. The rash started five days earlier on the left side of the chest and then spread to the left side of the back. The pain was burning in nature. He had no history of a similar rash. He had no exposure to chemicals or physical agents. He had diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and dyslipidemia.
Based on the patient's history and physical examination findings, which one of the following is the most likely diagnosis?
A. Bullous impetigo.
B. Contact dermatitis.
C. Herpes simplex virus infection.
D. Herpes zoster.
The answer is D: herpes zoster. Herpes zoster is characterized by a unilateral, painful vesicular rash with a dermatomal distribution. It is caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus.1 Herpes zoster most commonly affects dermatomes T1 to L2 and the first branch of the trigeminal nerve.1 In this case, the patient had a painful vesicular rash distributed mainly at the T2 to T4 dermatomes. There are four stages of a varicella zoster outbreak: erythematous, vesicular, pustular, and ulcerative.1 Occasionally, crusting develops after one week.2 The pain, which is caused by acute neuritis, can be described as a burning sensation and a deep, prickling, or lancinating pain.2 Reduced immunity states, such as advanced age and immunosuppression (e.g., malignancy, diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus infection), are risk factors for herpes zoster.2
Bullous impetigo is a result
REFERENCESshow all references
1. Armando S, Nicoletta V, Sara P, Matilde G, Silvia L, Giovanni G. Herpes zoster: new preventive perspectives. J Dermatolog Clin Res. 2015;3(1):1042–1045....
2. Johnson RA, Wolff K, Fitzpatrick TB, eds. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Professional; 2009.
3. Cole C, Gazewood J. Diagnosis and treatment of impetigo. Am Fam Physician. 2007;75(6): 859–864.
4. Emmert DH. Treatment of common cutaneous herpes simplex virus infections. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(6):1697–1706.
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epidemiology and prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases, 13th ed. Varicella. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/varicella.pdf. Accessed February 11, 2017.
This series is coordinated by John E. Delzell Jr., MD, MSPH, Assistant Medical Editor.
A collection of Photo Quiz published in AFP is available at https://www.aafp.org/afp/photoquiz.
Previously published Photo Quizzes are now featured in a mobile app. Get more information at https://www.aafp.org/afp/apps.
The editors of AFP welcome submissions for Photo Quiz. Guidelines for preparing and submitting a Photo Quiz manuscript can be found in the Authors' Guide at http://www.aafp.org/afp/photoquizinfo. To be considered for publication, submissions must meet these guidelines. E-mail submissions to email@example.com.
Copyright © 2017 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.
Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions