Faculty Zucker School of Medicine

Chair of Dermatology Publishes Zika Study in JAMA

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Investigation reveals lesser known skin symptoms related to the virus in adults

Hempstead, NY–Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine chair of dermatology, Amit Garg, MD, and co-investigators publish findings that highlight lesser known symptoms of the zika virus in adult patients. Because the virus shares many characteristics with other illnesses, zika diagnoses can be difficult.

“Our aim [is] to provide a more detailed description of skin, mucosal and tissue findings than exists in the literature, with the goal of improving awareness and recognition of suspected cases by the health care community,” said Dr. Garg.

Dr. Garg and colleagues presented their findings online May 11 in the journal JAMA Dermatology. Their study centered on a 44-year-old patient who complained of headache, fatigue and redness on his arms and hands within three days after returning to the United States from Puerto Rico, where the mosquito-borne virus is present.

The initial inflammation in his upper extremities spread to his torso within 24 hours, before fading and moving to the knees and feet. The patient later developed a burning sensation and joint pain in his wrists, knees and ankles. Within eight days, many of his initial symptoms cleared up.

Only later, after a full medical screening, did researchers catalogue clear signs of infection and render a Zika diagnosis. Based on this case, Dr. Garg’s team concluded that Zika rashes manifest as “tiny closely-set red bumps” that spread from the upper to lower half of the body over several days.  Furthermore, “tiny red patches” also tend to appear on the roof of the mouth, and eyes may appear bloodshot, though not all patients will have all of those symptoms, Dr. Garg said.

“Your doctor will need blood and/or urine samples to confirm the presence of the Zika virus,” said Dr. Garg. “However, a dermatologist may be able to eliminate Zika as a possibility.”

Mucocutaneous Findings and Course in an Adult With Zika Virus Infection:  View article in JAMA Dermatology

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