Onchocerciasis presenting with lower extremity, hypopigmented macules

W Vernick, S E Turner, E Burov, G H Telang
Cutis; Cutaneous Medicine for the Practitioner 2000, 65 (5): 293-7
Onchocerciasis, or river blindness, is a parasitic infection caused by the filarial nematode, Onchocerca volvulus. It infects 18 million people worldwide, but is rarely seen in the United States. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in the developing world. Although onchocerciasis is also known as river blindness, it is not just a disease of the eyes, but rather a chronic multisystem disease. Clinically, onchocerciasis takes three forms: 1) eye disease; 2) subcutaneous nodules; and 3) a pruritic hypopigmented or hyperpigmented papular dermatitis. We present an 18-year-old African female with a 5-year history of asymptomatic, hypopigmented, slightly atrophic macules on her anterior tibiae. Pathology revealed a scant perivascular inflammatory infiltrate with mononuclear cells, eosinophils, and rare microfilariae in the papillary dermis. Ivermectin is the treatment of choice for onchocerciasis and was initiated in this patient. We present this interesting patient with onchocerciasis to expand our differential of hypopigmented macules, especially in the African population. In addition, we discuss both the diagnosis and the treatment of onchocerciasis in expatriate patients living in nonendemic areas.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.