Ingestion of Rhus chicken causing systemic contact dermatitis in a Korean patient


  • Conflict of interest: none declared.

Dr Chang Kwun Hong, Department of Dermatology, Chung-ang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Rhus chicken is a common traditional remedy used to cure gastrointestinal diseases and as a health food in Korea. Unfortunately, systemic contact dermatitis (SCD) due to the ingestion of Rhus occasionally occurs. In this study, the clinical and laboratory findings were reviewed and analysed for 30 Korean patients with SCD developing after ingestion of Rhus chicken. Summer was found to be the commonest period for hospital visits because of this condition. The mean period of incubation for SCD, was 4 ± 1.5 days. The commonest skin features were generalized maculopapular eruptions. Of the 30 patients, 10 had a known history of allergy to Rhus chicken. Many of the patients developed neutrophilia and leucocytosis. All the patients responded well to standard treatments. The commonest reason for their ingestion of Rhus chicken was indigestion. We conclude that SCD often occurs in Koreans after ingestion of Rhus chicken. Patients should be educated about the harmful effects of Rhus chicken and advised not to ingest it.