Journal Article

Rhinoscleroma: A French National Retrospective Study of Epidemiological and Clinical Features

Loëc de Pontual, Philippe Ovetchkine, Diana Rodriguez, Audrey Grant, Anne Puel, Jacinta Bustamante, Sabine Plancoulaine, Laurent Yona, Pierre-Yves Lienhart, Danièle Dehesdin, Michel Huerre, Régis Tournebize, Philippe Sansonetti, Laurent Abel and Jean Laurent Casanova

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 47, issue 11, pages 1396-1402
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Rhinoscleroma: A French National Retrospective Study of Epidemiological and Clinical Features

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Background. Rhinoscleroma (RS) is a rare, chronic, granulomatous disease of the upper respiratory tract that is associated with infection with Klebsiella rhinoscleromatis. RS is more common in certain geographic regions than in others, but other risk factors and the pathogenesis of RS remain unclear.

Methods. We sent a standardized questionnaire to all pathologists and otolaryngology specialists in French University Hospitals and asked whether they had seen patients with RS in the previous 16 years (1990–2005). We then retrospectively reviewed the files of all patients identified.

Results. We collected 11 cases of RS, with a median patient age at diagnosis of 35.7 years (range, 5–72 years). The 3 patients with a familial history of RS presented with early-onset forms of RS; 1 had an uncommon aggressive presentation of the disease with ischemic stroke. Two unrelated consanguineous families were identified, 1 of which included 2 affected siblings. Two patients with sporadic disease were positive for HIV infection. All patients were living in France, but most were immigrants from areas where RS is endemic (North Africa, 3 of the 11 patients; West Africa, 4 patients; and Turkey, 1 patient). The probable duration of exposure to K. rhinoscleromatis in endemic areas varied widely: 0–28 years. Clinical features and outcome also varied considerably among cases. Biopsies had been performed for all patients and revealed granulomas containing Mikulicz cells. Cultures of biopsy tissue were positive for K. rhinoscleromatis in 5 of the 11 cases. Prolonged antibiotic treatment was administered to all patients, as follows: ciprofloxacin (7 patients), third-generation cephalosporins (2), tetracycline (2), and clofazimine (2). Eight of the 11 patients did not experience relapse during extended periods of follow-up (1.3–12 years). Relapses in 3 patients were confirmed by a second biopsy.

Conclusions. The occurrence of early-onset RS in multiplex and/or consanguineous families suggests that genetic control of the host response to K. rhinoscleromatis may be involved in the pathogenesis of RS in endemic areas.

Journal Article.  3643 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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