Recurrent Furunculosis in Returning Travelers: Newly Defined Entity

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Bacterial skin infection is a common dermatologic problem in travelers, which usually resolves without sequela. In contrast, post-travel recurrent furunculosis (PTRF) is a new unique entity of a sequential occurrence of many furuncles seen after returning home from a trip to the Tropics.


The objective of this study was to characterize the disease course and possible causes of PTRF.


A retrospective study was conducted on a group of young, healthy individuals (16 males and 5 females), who presented with PTRF after returning from tropical countries.


In all patients, the first furuncle appeared toward the end of the trip and continued for several months after returning home. The average duration of disease was 8.4 months with an average of 4.2 recurrences. Along the disease course, subsequent recurrences became shorter and milder with longer inter-recurrence intervals. Bacterial cultures most commonly grew methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA, 76.5%). Nasal colonization was demonstrated in 47% of patients. There were neither companion travelers nor family members experiencing furuncles.


PTRF should be defined as a clinical entity with prolonged travel to the Tropics being its major risk factor. In the author's opinion, a transient immune change in a subpopulation of travelers ignites a series of recurrent furuncles, resolving upon restoration of normal immunity.

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