The cause of acrodermatitis is poorly understood, but its link with other infections is well-documented.
In Italian children, acrodermatitis is seen frequently with hepatitis B, but this link is rarely seen in the United States. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV, mononucleosis) is the virus most often associated with acrodermatitis. Other associated viruses inclcude, cytomegalovirus, coxsackie viruses, parainfluenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and some live virus vaccines.
A rare, genetic form of acrodermatitis is acrodermatitis enteropathica. In this disorder, zinc is poorly absorbed from the diet. Adding zinc supplements to the diet improves the condition. This form of the disorder can be associated with other abnormalities and development delays.
Rash or patch on skin
Brownish-red or copper-colored patch that is firm and flat on top
String of bumps may appear in a line
Generally not itchy
Rash looks the same on both sides of the body
Rash may appear on the palms and soles -- it does not occur on the back, chest, or belly area (this is one of the ways it is identified -- by the absence of the rash from the trunk of the body)
Acrodermatitis by itself is not treated. Infections associated with this condition, such as hepatitis B and Epstein-Barr, should be treated appropriately.
Acrodermatitis enteropathica improves when zinc levels are returned to normal.
Acrodermatitis usually disappears on its own without treatment or complication. However, the associated conditions must be watched carefully.
Complications occur as a result of associated conditions, rather than as a result of acrodermatitis.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if your child has signs of this condition.
More JG. Nutritional Dermatoses. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th Ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 670.
Browning J, Levy M. Papules, Nodules, and Ulcers. In: Long SS, Pickering LK, Prober CG. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008: chap 77.
Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.