Author: Jane Widdowson et al, DEBRA New Zealand, February 2016.
Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a group of inherited diseases that are characterised by blistering lesions on the skin and mucous membranes. These may occur anywhere on the body but most commonly appear at sites of friction and minor trauma such as the feet and hands. In some subtypes, blisters may also occur on internal organs, such as the oesophagus, stomach and respiratory tract, without any apparent friction.
In junctional epidermolysis bullosa simplex (JEB), the site of blister formation within skin is the lamina lucida within the basement membrane zone. It causes generalised blistering of the skin and internal mucous membranes of varying severity.
JEB is a rare inherited disease . Most subtypes of JEB are of dominant inheritance. This means they are passed down from an affected parent to half of his or her children. JEB occurs equally in males and females.
|Generalised severe JEB
Previously known as Herlitz JEB
|Generalised intermediate JEB
Previously known as non-Herlitz JEB
In the dominant subtypes of EB, where an informative family tree is known, it is often acceptable for a clinical diagnosis to be made by a specialist dermatologist based on the presenting signs. Diagnostic tests are also available in some countries and include immunofluorescence antigen mapping (IFM) and/or transmission electron microscopy (EM) of a skin biopsy of a newly induced blister.
Mutational analysis (blood testing of genes) is also available in some countries
See treatment of epidermolysis bullosa – general.
There is a high mortality (death) rate in JEB — especially generalised severe JEB, regardless of medical intervention.
See the DermNet NZ bookstore.
© 2018 DermNet New Zealand Trust.
DermNet NZ does not provide an online consultation service. If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice.