Table of Content


Winter 2007, Vol. 15 No. 4

Hong Kong J. Dermatol. Venereol. (2007) 15, 170-177

Original Article

Cutaneous protothecosis in Hong Kong

FC Ip 葉方正, WYM Tang 鄧旭明, KC Yau 游高照, KK Lo 盧乾剛

Objective: This article reports the clinical, pathological and microbiological aspects of cutaneous protothecosis in the local scenario. Methodology: This is a retrospective study carried out in Social Hygiene Service, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong from 1970 to end of 2006. Case records and histopathology reports of patients with the diagnosis of protothecosis were reviewed. Results: Four cases of cutaneous protothecosis were identified. They presented variably as papules, plaques, nodules or ulcers over face, trunk or limbs. One patient worked as farmer and hence had potential occupational exposure. Only one patient was "immunocompromised", with a background of newly diagnosed diabetes mellitus and use of topical steroid. The other three patients were immunocompetent. Three cases responded to oral itraconazole treatment with or without surgical debridement. Conclusion: Cutaneous protothecosis is a rare infection caused by achlorophyllic unicellular algae Prototheca wickerhamii that can occur in immunocompromised as well as immunocompetent hosts. Oral itraconazole is the effective treatment of cutaneous protothecosis.