Gianotti-Crosti syndrome


Gianotti-Crosti syndrome

Also known as papular acrodermatitis of childhood

What is it?

Gianotti-Crosti syndrome is the name given to a rash which is caused by a viral infection. It is typically found on the legs, buttocks, arms and face of children aged 6 months to 14 years. The condition usually clears spontaneously and without treatment over a period of 12 weeks.

Gianotti-Crosti syndrome Image reproduced with permission of Dr Davin Lim
Image reproduced with permission of Dr Davin Lim

What causes it?

Gianotti-Crosti syndrome is caused by an immune system response to an underlying infection, most commonly a viral infection.

Gianotti-Crosti syndrome was originally found to be associated with the hepatitis B virus but has subsequently been linked to other milder viral and bacterial infections. The condition can occur following vaccinations. It is more frequently found in children with eczema and is more common in spring and summer.

What does it look like?

The rash usually starts on the thighs and buttocks and spreads to the arms and face. The condition consists of symmetrically distributed, uniform pink and red spots or bumps. Fluid-filled blisters may develop. The rash may be itchy.

Prior to the rash, there may have been symptoms of a viral infection such as a sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, sore joints, feeling unwell and a mild fever.

The rash usually resolves by itself within 12 weeks and fades without scarring.

How is Gianotti-Crosti syndrome diagnosed?

A physical examination carried out by a dermatologist usually confirms the diagnosis.

A blood test may be performed to identify the underlying infection and possible changes in blood count and liver function. A skin biopsy may be taken to exclude other medical conditions with similar symptoms.

How is Gianotti-Crosti syndrome treated?

There is no specific treatment for Gianotti-Crosti syndrome.

Treatment can be given to alleviate the symptoms of Gianotti-Crosti syndrome such as itching. Using a moisturiser may be helpful. The dermatologist may prescribe steroid creams or oral antihistamines if the skin is very itchy.

This information has been written by Dr Yin Vun
Updated 18 August 2015


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