What is Wells syndrome (eosinophilic cellulitis)?

Updated: Apr 17, 2019
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

In 1971, George Wells first described this syndrome as a recurrent granulomatous dermatitis with eosinophilia. [1] Wells and Smith renamed it eosinophilic cellulitis in 1979. [2]

Wells syndrome (eosinophilic cellulitis) is an uncommon condition of unknown etiology. The presentation usually involves a mildly pruritic or tender cellulitis-like eruption with typical histologic features characterized by edema, flame figures, and a marked infiltrate of eosinophils in the dermis. [3] Papular and nodular eruptions at the clinical presentation have also been reported. [4, 5] The condition can recur and may be preceded by a pruritic papular eruption. Although Wells syndrome is usually sporadic, some familial cases have been reported.

One study showed the successive occurrence of vasculitis, Wells syndrome, and Sweet syndrome in a patient. This finding suggests that there is an overlap between these diseases. [6] Another report describes a dominant syndrome consisting of eosinophilic cellulitis, mental retardation, and abnormal body habitus in one family. [7]


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