A case of Hansen Disease presenting as tinea versicolor

Dermatol Online J. 2013 Apr 15;19(4):7.


Hansen Disease (leprosy) is an infectious disease that targets macrophages and Schwann cells, caused by the acid fast intracellular organism, Mycobacterium leprae. Clinically, it presents with a spectrum of findings that may include hypopigmented macules, erythematous plaques and nodules, and thickened or tender peripheral nerves. The most feared complication is mutilating damage to facial structures or digits resulting from loss of sensation in affected skin. In non-endemic areas, the diagnosis of leprosy is frequently delayed because it may mimic other more common skin conditions. We present a case of borderline/lepromatous leprosy in an otherwise healthy young Brazilian man that was initially diagnosed as tinea versicolor, but did not respond to appropriate treatment. This case highlights the importance of having a high index of suspicion for leprosy in patients from endemic areas who present with lesions that could be consistent with this disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Clofazimine / administration & dosage
  • Clofazimine / therapeutic use
  • Contraindications
  • Dapsone
  • Delayed Diagnosis
  • Diagnostic Errors*
  • Humans
  • Hypesthesia / etiology
  • Leprostatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Leprosy, Borderline / complications
  • Leprosy, Borderline / diagnosis*
  • Leprosy, Borderline / microbiology
  • Leprosy, Borderline / pathology
  • Leprosy, Lepromatous / complications
  • Leprosy, Lepromatous / diagnosis*
  • Leprosy, Lepromatous / microbiology
  • Leprosy, Lepromatous / pathology
  • Male
  • Minocycline / administration & dosage
  • Minocycline / therapeutic use
  • Mycobacterium leprae / isolation & purification
  • Rifampin / administration & dosage
  • Rifampin / therapeutic use
  • Tinea Versicolor / diagnosis*
  • Young Adult


  • Leprostatic Agents
  • Dapsone
  • Clofazimine
  • Minocycline
  • Rifampin