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Eosinophilic fasciitis (Shulman syndrome) is defined by the association of sclerodermatous skin changes involving underlying fascia and hypereosinophilia. While the aetiology is unknown, some observations suggest an infectious origin. We report the association of eosinophilic fasciitis with an infection involving Borrelia burgdorferi.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
A 54 year-old man consulted for a hardened oedema and stiffness of the calves associated with an oedema of the left hand evolving for 4 months. Routine blood tests showed hypereosinophilia at 1.01 G/l and moderate inflammatory syndrome. Diagnosis of eosinophilic fasciitis was confirmed by MRI and muscle biopsy. Since the patient had reported previous tick bites some months before onset, he was tested for
Lyme disease. An ELISA test revealed IgG directed against Borrelia burgdorferi and this was confirmed by Western blot analysis.
The association of eosinophilic fasciitis with
Lyme disease raises the question of a real link or a fortuitous association between the two conditions. Similar cases have been described in the literature with or without isolation of the spirochete from skin or fascia lesions. The incidence of eosinophilic fasciitis remains low compared to the prevalence of the infection in endemic areas. We suggest that in some patients, perhaps genetically predisposed, infection with B. burgdorferi may be at the origin of fasciitis.