Author: Marie Hartley, Staff Writer, 2010.
Rhinoscleroma is a rare chronic (slowly progressive) inflammatory condition caused by bacteria called Klebsiella rhinoscleromatis. Rhinoscleroma is characterised by granulomatous swellings (lumpy firm masses composed of immune cells) in the nose and other parts of the respiratory tract, such as the paranasal sinuses, mouth, lips, larynx, trachea, and bronchi. The disease is contracted by inhaling droplets or contaminated material and typically appears in patients aged 10-30 years of age.
Cases of rhinoscleroma generally occur in Central and South America, parts of Africa, the Middle East, India, the Philippines, Central and Eastern Europe, and some areas of the Pacific. Risk factors for the disease include immunodeficiency (particularly HIV infection), poverty, poor hygiene, and prolonged contact with infected patients.
Three clinical stages have been described:
Rhinoscleroma is treated with long-term antibiotics and surgery in patients with symptoms of respiratory tract obstruction.
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