Tue, May 01, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Taichung child covered in rashes, diagnosed as HSP

By Tsai Shu-yuan and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

What appeared to be mosquito bites on a six-year-old girl in Taichung turned out to be Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP), a disease that could require hemodialysis in severe cases, a pediatrician said.

Red spots appeared on the girl’s leg two weeks after she caught a cold, Taichung Hospital pediatrician Hung Chien-hui (洪千惠) said.

Her parents realized they were not mosquito bites when the spots multiplied and covered the girl’s leg within three days.

They also turned into a purplish bruise-like color.

When the girl arrived at the hospital, both of her legs were almost completely covered in purple spots, Hung said, adding that her legs were sore and her joints swollen.

The rashes disappeared at one point, but they reappeared and spread to her buttocks, hands and other parts of her body, the doctor said.

The girl was given anti-inflammatory drugs to ease her pain and treated using steroids and immunosuppressive drugs, Hung said.

She was released from the hospital 10 days after being admitted and has fully recovered, she added.

HSP is not uncommon, Hung said, adding that although its Mandarin name suggests it is an “allergy,” it is an autoimmune disease.

HSP is caused by an overreaction to infections by the body’s immune system, resulting in systemic vasculitis and the appearance of purple spots, mainly on the legs and buttocks, she said.

Other symptoms include abdominal pain; vomiting; pain and swelling in the joints; and subcutaneous edema, Hung added.

HSP is most common in children aged five to 11 and affects parts of the body with large numbers of small blood vessels, including the skin, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, joints, respiratory tract and central nervous system, she said.

While the cause of HSP is unknown, most people contract it one to two weeks after catching a cold due to a continued immune response, she said.

While the symptoms usually subside on their own within eight weeks, if they are severe from the onset of the disease, there is a 15 percent chance the illness might damage the kidneys and require hemodialysis, Hung said.

In half of the cases, HSP recurs within six weeks, she added.

The appearance of small rashes scattered across the body should not be taken lightly, Hung said, adding that this symptom occurs in the early stages of many diseases.

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