Mal de Meleda: A Focused Review

Caroline Perez; Amor Khachemoune


Am J Clin Dermatol. 2016;17(1):63-70. 

In This Article


Mal de Meleda, also known as Meleda disease and Keratosis Palmoplantaris Transgrediens of Siemens, is a type of palmoplantar keratoderma (PPK) that has been discussed in the literature since the 1800s. Luca Stulli, a Croatianborn scientist who trained in Italy, first described Mal de Meleda in 1826 in the Italian journal Antologia.[1] Stulli observed the disease on the island of Mljet, Croatia and described it as a ''non-natural structure of the skin integument in the palm of hands, palmar fascia of the fingers, soles and heels''.[2] The island had been used for hundreds of years to quarantine patients with plague and leprosy, which promoted conditions for consanguinity.[3] Indeed, Mal de Meleda disease has an autosomal recessive (AR) pattern of inheritance and is generally very rare, with an estimated prevalence of 1 case per 100,000 population.[4]

Subsequent to its initial description in 1826, the disease has been reported in at least 19 countries outside of Croatia including Algeria, Chile, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Laos, Libya, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.[5–19]