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Stevens–Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis in sub-Saharan Africa: a multicentric study in four countries


  • Conflicts of interest: None.


Pr Vincent P. Pitché, md

Department of Dermatology CHU Tokoin BP: 81056 LoméTogo




The purpose of this study was to document the clinical profile, etiologies, and outcomes of Stevens–Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) in hospitals in four sub-Saharan African countries.

Patients and methods

A retrospective study on cases of SJS/TEN treated in dermatology departments and/or intensive care units in four sub-Saharan African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, and Togo) from 2000 to 2010. The study focuses on variables such as age, sex, type of SJS/TEN, epidermal detachment of the skin surface, HIV status, drug(s) involved, and outcomes (death and sequelae).


This study identified 177 cases of SJS/TEN from 2000 to 2010: 129 with SJS; 37 TEN; and 11 overlapping SJS/TEN. The average age of patients was 32.3 ± 15.4 years, and the sex ratio (M/F) was 0.6. HIV serology was positive in 69 (54.8%) of the 126 patients tested. Antibacterial sulfonamides (38.4%) were the most commonly used drugs followed by nevirapine (19.8%) and tuberculosis drugs (5.6%). We recorded 22 deaths (i.e. six cases of SJS, 15 of TEN, and one of overlapping SJS/TEN). Of the 22 patients who died, 16 were infected with HIV; among them, seven had an opportunistic infection (four cases of cerebral toxoplasmosis and three of pulmonary tuberculosis). Twenty-seven cases of sequelae were noted with a large part of eye complications.


This study has highlighted: (i) the high proportion of patients infected with HIV among patients who had SJS/TEN in sub-Saharan Africa; (ii) the high frequency of antiretroviral drugs as new SJS/TEN causes in sub-Saharan Africa; and (iii) the impact of HIV infection on morbidity and mortality of these affections.