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Early congenital syphilis and erythema multiforme-like bullous targetoid lesions in a 1-day-old newborn: detection of Treponema pallidum genomic DNA from the targetoid plaque using nested polymerase chain reaction.

A 1-day-old male newborn was born with respiratory distress, low birth weight, hepatosplenomegaly, and bullous targetoid skin lesions over the face, back, buttocks, and extremities. A diagnosis of early congenital syphilis was made based on a treponemal serologic test. Pathologic examination of the skin lesion showed scattered dyskeratotic cells in the epidermis and interface dermatitis consistent with erythema multiforme. No spirochete could be found in the skin sections staining with Warthin-Starry stain. Using nested polymerase chain reaction, treponemal genomic DNA fragments encoding DNA polymerase I were detected.

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