Recurrent furunculosis in returning travelers: Newly defined entity

Ofir Artzi, Maya Sinai, Michal Solomon, Eli Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background 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. Objective The objective of this study was to characterize the disease course and possible causes of PTRF. Methods 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. Results 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 8.4months 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. Conclusions 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-25
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Travel Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


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