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Keywords:

  • child;
  • fungiform papillae;
  • glossitis;
  • stomatitis;
  • tongue

Summary

Background  Eruptive lingual papillitis with household transmission (ELP) is an acute stomatitis of unknown cause occurring in children, with possible spread to one or several members of the family.

Objectives  To verify clinical features and search for clinical characteristics of ELP.

Methods  A prospective case series, including an analysis of epidemiological and clinical factors, was conducted within private paediatric practices in collaboration with a dermatology department at the University Hospital of Nice, France.

Results  Thirty-eight children (21 girls and 17 boys) with clinical criteria of ELP referred from 1 February 2000 to 31 January 2002 were included in the study. Mean age at diagnosis was 3 years and 6 months. Thirty-three children attended day nursery or school. The seasonal distribution of observed cases showed a peak of incidence in spring. The eruption started abruptly. Fever was found in 15 (39%) cases. Difficulties in feeding were observed in all cases; intense salivation in 23 (61%) cases. The glossitis was characterized by inflammatory hypertrophy of the fungiform papillae on the tip and dorsolateral part of the tongue. Enlarged submaxillary or cervical lymph nodes were noted in 16 (42%) cases. Angular cheilitis was observed in four (11%) children. Spontaneous regression of the stomatitis occurred between the second and 15 days of clinical evolution. Mean duration was 7·3 days. Transmission to one or several members of the family was noted in 20 (53%) cases. Recurrence of symptoms was observed in five (13%) children.

Conclusions  This study confirms some clinical characteristics of ELP: localized lesions of the fungiform papillae on the tip and dorsolateral part of the tongue, high frequency of intrafamilial transmission, and possibility of recurrence. This study also showed unsuspected clinical data such as possible occurrence of fever and angular cheilitis. ELP resembles an entity termed ‘transient lingual papillitis’ or commonly ‘lie bumps’. The origin of this eruption remains unknown, but the transmission data could suggest a possible infectious origin.