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Disseminate and recurrent infundibulofolliculitis

Author: Dr Ben Tallon, Dermatology Registrar, Greenlane Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand, 2006. Reviewed by Clare Morrison, Copy Editor, April 2014.

Disseminate and recurrent infundibulofolliculitis — codes and concepts

What is disseminate and recurrent infundibulofolliculitis?

Disseminate and recurrent infundibulofolliculitis (DRIF) is a rare itchy follicular skin condition of unknown cause that occurs mainly in people of African descent.

It is also known as 'Hitch and Lund disease' after the pair who first described this condition in 1968.

What are the clinical features of disseminate and recurrent infundibulofolliculitis?

Disseminate and recurrent infundibulofolliculitis typically presents as a widespread, mildly itchy, follicular rash. It has been described as 'goosebumps through a magnifying glass'.

The rash is slightly pink in appearance, often with a brown, pigmented edge. The torso, neck and arms are most affected.

Disseminate and recurrent infundibulofolliculitis is mainly found in young, healthy people with dark skin colour and is more common in hot, humid climates.


What are the histologic findings of disseminate and recurrent infundibulofolliculitis?

A skin biopsy may be taken to help in diagnosis. There are oedema and lymphocytic infiltration around the infundibulum and basal region of the hair follicle. There are widening and proliferation of cells in the upper part of the follicle with variable amounts of scale formation. The skin biopsy direct immunofluorescence test is negative, as antibodies cannot be detected around the hair follicle.

What is the treatment for disseminate and recurrent infundibulofolliculitis?

There is little response to topical, intralesional or systemic steroids; antibiotics such as doxycycline; or antihistamines.

There are reports of improvement with oral vitamin-A, isotretinoin, and PUVA. Some patients may find relief with cooling and soothing emollients.

What is the prognosis for disseminate and recurrent infundibulofolliculitis?

Other than its appearance and in some, the itch, there are no serious consequences of this rash. Despite the name, not everyone has recurrent episodes, as a persistent rash is more usual. It generally resolves by itself after some years.

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  • Hitch JM, Lund HZ. Disseminate and recurrent infundibulo-folliculitis: report of a case.Arch Dermatol. 1968 Apr;97(4):432–5. Medline.
  • Owen W, Wood C. Disseminate and recurrent infundibulofolliculitis. Arch Dermatol. 1979; 115:174–5. Medline.
  • Ravikumar BC, Balachandran C, Shenoi SD et al. Disseminate and recurrent infundibulofolliculitis: response to psoralen plus UVA therapy. Int J Dermatol. 1999 Jan; 38(1): 75–6. Medline.

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