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A study on Paederus dermatitis outbreak in a suburban teaching research hospital, Kanchipuram, India.

Asgar Ali, Sujitha Kathirvel, Devika T, Sivasankaran M P, Balan K, Praveen Kumar G S, Saleem M, Joseph P Innocent, Vijayalakshmi T S.


Paederus dermatitis, a kind of irritant contact dermatitis by Staphylinid beetle, is more prevalent in Asia-Pacific countries with the attributes of tropical climate. Brushing, pressing, or crushing of the beetle against the skin releases the pederin toxin (pederin) that can produce urticarial, vesicular, and bullous lesions. We conducted a 1-year retrospective study of 84 patients with Paederus dermatitis attending our hospital to study the clinical patterns of dermatitis and epidemiological prevalence. It mostly affects the hostel students residing within the campus near the paddy fields. Itching was most common symptom, involving mainly the neck and arms. Linear erythematous lesions were the common sign involving the extremities (40.1%), neck (36.4%) and trunk (32.1%). Vesicles and pustule formation was seen in (51.19%) of the patients, respectively. The most striking feature of Paederus dermatitis, the ‘Kissing lesions’ were seen in (2.4%) of the patients. Periorbital involvement was seen in (17.4%) of the cases. Paederus beetles were frequently seen in the campus attracted by incandescent and fluorescent lights. Simple preventive measures such as use of insecticide like pyrethroid, clearing of excess vegetation would check the Paederus infection. Clinical education and awareness regarding this condition will prevent misdiagnosis.

Key words: Paederus dermatitis, linear dermatitis, retrospective study

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