Exacerbation of atopic dermatitis in the emergency department

Eur J Emerg Med. 2004 Dec;11(6):360-2. doi: 10.1097/00063110-200412000-00014.


A 38-year-old man was admitted to the Emergency Department suffering from an exacerbation of atopic dermatitis, fever and a burning sensation in the eyes. He was first treated with systemic corticosteroids. A subsequent dermatological and ophthalmological examination established the diagnosis of Kaposi-Juliusberg disease or eczema herpeticum with bilateral herpetic keratitis. Eczema herpeticum is an uncommon herpes simplex virus infection that occurs in patients with atopic dermatitis. Because it is a possible life-threatening condition, this disease must be recognized by all emergency physicians. The association with herpetic keratitis is not frequent but is a major ophthalmological problem. Treatment consists of the administration of high-dose intravenous acyclovir and acyclovir ophthalmic ointment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / therapeutic use
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / etiology*
  • Emergencies
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Fever / drug therapy
  • Fever / etiology
  • Humans
  • Kaposi Varicelliform Eruption / complications
  • Kaposi Varicelliform Eruption / diagnosis*
  • Kaposi Varicelliform Eruption / drug therapy
  • Keratitis, Herpetic / complications
  • Keratitis, Herpetic / diagnosis*
  • Keratitis, Herpetic / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Simplexvirus / immunology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Acyclovir