The findings, published June 22 in the online version of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, could help identify people at risk for serious complications of smallpox vaccinations, and point to defects in the skin barrier and antimicrobial-protein production as possible causes for the increased susceptibility.
"Previous studies have suggested that eczema is not only becoming more prevalent, but that patients have increased susceptibility to disseminated viral infections," said senior author Donald Leung, MD, PhD, Edelstein Family Chair of Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology at National Jewish Health.
"Our study is the largest and first in the United States to carefully characterize eczema patients who have suffered widespread herpes simplex viral infections of their skin. It is also the first to report that these patients are more susceptible to staphylococcus and other infections of the skin and eye."
A subset of the estimated 6 million eczema patients in the United States are susceptible to widespread infections of their skin by herpes simplex and vaccinia viruses. The herpes simplex virus is common but only rarely causes disseminated skin infections that can spread to the eye and bloodstream sometimes leading to encephalitis and meningitis. The widespread herpes simplex skin infection is known as eczema herpeticum.
Vaccinia virus, which is used in smallpox vaccinations, can also cause a serious and life-threatening skin infections in a smaller subset of patients. People who have eczema or had it in the past are susceptible to this infection when they receive a smallpox vaccination. This situation could limit the ability of those people to safely receive vaccinations in case of a smallpox bioterrorism event.
The Atopic Dermatitis Vaccinia Network (ADVN) is an NIH-funded multi-center network charged with better understanding the susceptibility of eczema patients to the vaccinia infection and to search for ways to protect against it. Atopic dermatitis is another name for eczema, an allergic skin condition that causes itchy, inflamed and cracked skin.
The ADVN researchers believed that they might be able to identify eczema patients at high risk for these infections and to obtain clues about the mechanisms of susceptibility by studying a large cohort of patients who had suffered eczema herpeticum, the herpes simplex viral skin infections. They examined a wide variety of demographic, pathologic and biologic characteristics in 901 subjects, 138 of whom had suffered eczema herpeticum.
They found that eczema patients susceptible to herpes simplex infections had more severe disease, earlier age of disease onset, more frequent history of other allergic diseases such as food allergy, asthma and hay fever, more allergic biomarkers, and more frequent skin infections with other microbes.
"These characteristics associated with eczema herpeticum should help us identify young patients at greater risk for eczema herpeticum so that we can be more vigilant with them and better equipped to prevent this serious complication of eczema," said Dr. Leung.
The greater allergic disease and sensitization, as well as infection by other microbes, point to a potential mechanism for the increased susceptibility to viral skin infections. An emerging model of eczema highlights the importance of skin-barrier defects and a lack of antimicrobial proteins among eczema patients. The skin-barrier defect is believed to result in the greater allergic sensitization among eczema patients in general. The even higher allergic sensitization among EH patients suggests the skin-barrier defect is particularly acute in those patients.
The higher levels of infections with staphylococcus and other microbes suggests that EH patients may be particularly lacking in antimicrobial proteins.
William Allstetter | EurekAlert!
Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
21.08.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
21.08.2018 | Life Sciences
21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering