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Rare skin disorder may be triggered by wart virus?

For those who are faint of heart, please do not click on this link (via KevinMD). This poor man living in Eastern Europe developed a rare disorder (called Lewandowsky-Lutz dysplasia) where he had growths appear on his hands and feet starting at age 14. Many years later the growths are quite disfiguring and difficult to remove.

Some speculate that this may be similar to a warty disorder in rabbits. Either way, it is a little disturbing to me that this condition could be triggered by a virus. Viruses, of course, can be quite contagious…

Any dermatologists out there want to weigh in?

This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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2 Responses to “Rare skin disorder may be triggered by wart virus?”

  1. StephenStoneMD says:

    First of all, I am no longer President of the AAD, I am only a Past President.

    This photograph is certainly a nasty example of this condition, which is unusual. Although it was known in the past as epidermodysplasia verruciformis of Lewandowsky and Lutz, the condition is now known simply as epidermodysplasia verruciformis. It appears to be an inherited defect in the ability to develop an immune response to the wart virus. Onset is most often in childhood, and the earliest lesions look like flat warts or even like tinea versicolor. They are caused by the same HPV types as we see in the general population.
    About 50% of cases are clearly inherited; the other 50% may be due to new mutations. There are at least two different genes that are associated with autosomal recessive EV, but there is also some evidence for ane X-linked inheritance pattern in some cases.
    Unfortunately, when these warts are treated, they almost always recur, and eventually some go on to develop squamous cell carcinomas as well. This is a nasty disease. Personally, if I were ever to run into a patient with this condition, I would certainly investigate the possibility of imiquimod as therapy.

  2. ValJonesMD says:

    Dear Dr. Stone, thank you so much for your insights! Sorry for my error – past president is certainly equally as impressive as current president! :)

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