The cause of acrodermatitis is poorly understood, but its link with other infections is well-documented.
In Italian children, acrodermatitis is seen frequently with hepatitis B, but this link is rarely seen in the United States. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV, mononucleosis) is the virus most often associated with acrodermatitis. Other associated viruses include cytomegalovirus, coxsackie viruses, parainfluenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and some live virus vaccines.
A rare, genetic form of acrodermatitis is acrodermatitis enteropathica. In this disorder, zinc is poorly absorbed from the diet. Adding zinc supplements to the diet improves the condition. This form of the disorder can be associated with other abnormalities and development delays.
Rash or patch on skin
Brownish-red or copper-colored patch that is firm and flat on top
String of bumps may appear in a line
Generally not itchy
Rash looks the same on both sides of the body
Rash may appear on the palms and soles -- it does not occur on the back, chest, or belly area (this is one of the ways it is identified -- by the absence of the rash from the trunk of the body)
Morelli JG. Nutritional dermatoses. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme, JW III, et al., eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 663.
Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.