What Is Gianotti Crosti Syndrome?

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  • Written By: Andy Josiah
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 12 August 2019
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Gianotti Crosti syndrome is a skin disorder that is most commonly associated with the hepatitis virus. The condition, however, can be caused by any of several other viruses. Gianotti Crosti syndrome is named after a pair of Italian dermatologists, Agostino Crosti and Ferdinando Gianotti, who first described it. Several alternate terms exist; they include papulovesicular acrolocated syndrome, infantile papular acrodermatitis and papular acrodermatitis of childhood.

The main cause of Gianotti Crosti syndrome is any of the three hepatitis viruses that trigger the trio of infectious diseases called hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. The most common virus of the three linked to Gianotti Crosti syndrome, however, is the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Other viruses implicated include the Epstein-Barr virus, enterovirus, adenovirus, echovirus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Infections from bacteria such as Streptococcus and Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and immunizations for diseases such as polio, measles and influenza are also known to cause the disease.

Gianotti Crosti syndrome usually manifests as firm bumps called papules appearing on the skin. Each measuring around 0.04 to 0.39 inches (1 to 10 millimeters) in diameter, the bumps may be pruritic, or itchy, although that characteristic is rather uncommon. The papules either match the color of the skin or exhibit a brownish appearance. Later, though, the bumps, particularly the ones located on the legs, begin to turn purple, an occurrence that is attributed to capillaries leaking blood. In some cases, the rash might have a red color.


Some of the most common sites for the bumps are the face, buttocks, arms and thighs. Children between the ages of six months and 12 years constitute the main group affected by Gianotti Crosti syndrome. Additionally, physicians have theorized that papules that exclusively appear on the face might be caused by Epstein-Barr virus.

The appearance of papules as indicative of Gianotti Crosti syndrome is typically sudden. Despite this, Gianotti Crosti syndrome is considered a self-limited disease, meaning that it disappears after a certain period of time. The bumps can remain from anywhere from two weeks to four months. Also, it is classified as a harmless condition, as it does not have the ability to cause significant harm to a person's health.

Thus, treatment is rarely, if ever, necessary. Treatment is typically only used to control some of the symptoms. For instance, physicians prescribe oral antihistamines or soothing lotions to reduce itchiness. In some cases, when associated conditions develop such as strep throat, patients may be prescribed antibiotics.


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