The natural history of pityriasis rosea in black American children: How correct is the "classic" description?

Ahdi Amer, Howard Fischer, Xiaoming Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objectives: To delineate the natural history of pityriasis rosea in black children and to compare our findings with those of the American, European, and African literature on pityriasis rosea. Textbook and journal article descriptions of pityriasis rosea usually offer information about the presentation and clinical course of this condition in white patients. Design: Prospective observational study. Setting: The general pediatric clinic, adolescent clinic, and emergency department of Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, from June 2003 through May 2005. Patients: We followed up 50 black children with pityriasis rosea from the time of diagnosis through follow-up visits at 1, 2, and 4 weeks. Detailed observations were made and digital photographs taken at each visit. Main Outcome Measures: Duration of illness and pigmentary sequelae. Results: Similarities with the medical literature were found regarding season of onset and prevalence of pruritus and of a herald patch. Our patients had more frequent facial involvement (30%) and more scalp lesions (8%) than usually described in white populations. One third had papular lesions. The disease resolved in nearly one half of patients within 2 weeks. Residual hyperpigmentation was seen in 48% of patients. Hypopigmentation developed in 29% of patients with purely papular or papulovesicular lesions. Conclusions: Pityriasis rosea in black children differs in several ways from textbook descriptions. Physicians may use this information to better counsel patients about the course and potential sequelae of this condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-506
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007


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