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Dermatitis Herpetiformis Presenting as Digital Petechiae


Address correspondence to Sigrid Karrer, M.D., Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11, D-93042 Regensburg, Germany, or e-mail:


Abstract:  We present a 15-year-old female patient with a 6-month history of recurrent painful petechiae on the fingers and feet. Trauma or pressure were denied, but she reported recurrent tonsillitis and urinary tract infections and a single event of bilateral scotoma. Extensive investigations (e.g., echocardiography) for a suspected diagnosis of septic emboli were unremarkable. Routine histopathology, direct and indirect immunofluorescence, and esophagogastroduodenoscopy led to the diagnosis of dermatitis herpetiformis. The therapeutic strategy comprised gluten-free diet and dapsone to alleviate the symptoms. Dermatitis herpetiformis should be included in the differential diagnosis of palmar or plantar petechiae, especially when occurring in children or young adults.