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Skin manifestations of arthropod-borne infection in Latin America

Bolivar-Mejia, Adriána; Alarcón-Olave, Camilab; Rodriguez-Morales, Alfonso J.c,d

Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: June 2014 - Volume 27 - Issue 3 - p 288–294
doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000060
SPECIAL COMMENTARY: Edited by Matthew Dryden

Purpose of review Arthropods are a significant cause of human skin lesions and infections, especially in Latin America. This review summarizes recent articles on the cutaneous manifestations of arthropod-borne diseases, with an emphasis on those diseases causing direct skin damage but also considering those systemic diseases with cutaneous manifestations.

Recent findings Studies have shown a variety and increase of cutaneous manifestations caused by arthropod-borne infections, including petechiae, purpura, ulcers, nodules, atrophic, miliary and hyperpigmented lesions. Although unspecific, when considering other features they become a useful tool in the diagnostic approach. Unusual cutaneous presentation of these diseases has been found to be associated with development of immunity, virulent strain, drug resistance and immunosuppressive states. Also, because of globalization, climate change and large-scale migration, these manifestations have spread to new areas.

Summary Cutaneous manifestations of arthropod-borne infections are varied and nonspecific. Their atypical presentations are mainly related to immune impairment and strain virulence. When considering a patient with skin lesions, other clinical and laboratory features must be taken into account in order to make an accurate diagnostic approach.

aFaculty of Health, Universidad Industrial de Santander

bFaculty of Medicine, Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga, Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia

cFaculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira, Pereira, Risaralda, Colombia

dWorking Group on Zoonoses, International Society for Chemotherapy, Aberdeen, UK

Correspondence to Alfonso J. Rodriguez-Morales, Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira, Pereira, Risaralda 660003, Colombia. Tel: +57 300 8847448; e-mail:

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.