A hypereosinophilic syndrome associated with dermatitis has been observed rarely in association with HIV infection. We describe the case of a young man with AIDS who came to us with a diffuse cutaneous eruption, fever, angioedema, eosinophilia, and a mildly elevated serum IgE level. No allergic or infectious cause of this illness could be determined, and the patient was treated with corticosteroids and PUVA therapy, resulting in complete resolution of the dermatitis and associated findings. In this case, there were clinical and histopathologic similarities to the idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome and to acute graft-versus-host disease. The serum level of the cytokine interleukin-5 (IL-5), which is associated with eosinophil production, was found to be mildly elevated during the peak of the eruption, while samples drawn previously and subsequently were not. Although it appears that the syndrome we describe is associated with the measurably elevated level of IL-5, further investigation is required to determine whether there is a cause and effect relationship between IL-5 and this entity. A brief review of the literature concerning eosinophils and HIV infection is also presented in the context of this case.
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