Eczema herpeticum, also known as Kaposi varicelliform eruption, is a potentially life-threatening disseminated cutaneous viral infection. In the majority of cases, this condition develops as a complication in patients with atopic dermatitis. However, it may arise in a wide spectrum of pre-existing skin conditions, including psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, cutaneous T cell lymphoma, pemphigus vulgaris, and others.
We present the case of a 2-year-old boy who was brought to the emergency department because of a high-grade fever and rash. The fever started 2 days before his presentation, and its maximum measurement was 39.6°C. The following day, the patient developed numerous painful, pruritic vesiculopustular eruptions, and oozing involving the lips, rendering the patient unable to tolerate oral feeding. The patient was seen by the dermatology team who diagnosed the child as having eczema herpeticum. The patient was commenced on antiviral and empirical antibiotic therapy in the form of intravenous acyclovir and cephalexin along with topical fusidic acid and panthenol. The patient showed clinical improvement with resolution of the fever and partial involution of the rash 2 days following the administration of the antimicrobial therapy.
Eczema herpeticum is a rare clinical entity that can result in significant morbidity. The case highlights the importance of considering the diagnosis of eczema herpeticum in the appropriate clinical settings, even in patients who were not known to have any prior skin disorder.