Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Case reports in infectious diseases
Leprosy can present with a variety of clinical manifestations depending on the immune status of the individual. After dermatological and neurological involvement, rheumatic features specially various forms of arthritis are the third most common manifestation of the disease. We describe a unique case of a 22-year-old patient presenting with external ear involvement mimicking relapsing polychondritis along with inflammatory joint symptoms and skin lesions. Ear involvement in relapsing polychondritis characteristically is painful and spares the noncartilaginous ear lobules, in contrast to painless ear involvement in leprosy affecting the lobules as well. Histopathology confirmed the diagnosis, although the ear and skin lesions were not classical of leprosy. Such a presentation of leprosy closely mimicking relapsing polychondritis has not been described previously. Tissue diagnosis should always be attempted whenever possible in patients presenting with autoimmune features, so that inappropriate therapy with immunosuppressants is avoided.