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Hyperimmunoglobulin E syndrome

Definition

Hyperimmunoglobulin E syndrome is a rare, inherited disease that causes problems with the skin, sinuses, lungs, bones, and teeth.

Alternative Names

Job syndrome; Hyper IgE syndrome

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Hyperimmunoglobulin E syndrome is also called Job syndrome, after the biblical character Job whose faithfulness was tested by an affliction with draining skin sores and pustules. People with this condition have long-term, severe skin infections.

The symptoms are usually present in childhood, but because the disease is so rare, it often takes years before a correct diagnosis is made.

Recent research suggests that the disease is often caused by a genetic change (mutation) -- a change in the STAT3 gene on chromosome 4. How this gene abnormality causes the symptoms of the disease is not well understood. However, people with the disease have higher-than-normal levels of an antibody called IgE.

Symptoms

  • Bone and tooth defects, including fractures and losing the baby teeth late
  • Eczema
  • Skin abscesses and infection
  • Repeated sinus infections

Signs and tests

An eye exam may reveal signs of dry eye syndrome. A physical exam may show:

A chest x-ray may reveal lung abscesses.

Tests used to confirm the diagnosis include:

Other tests that may be done:

A scoring system that combines the different problems of Job syndrome is used to help make the diagnosis.

Treatment

There is no known cure for this condition. The goal of treatment is to control the infections. Medications include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antifungal and antiviral medications (when appropriate)

Sometimes, surgery is needed to drain abscesses.

Gamma globulin given through a vein (IV) may help build up the immune system if you have severe infections.

Expectations (prognosis)

Job syndrome is a lifelong chronic condition. Each new infection requires treatment.

Complications

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of Job syndrome.

Prevention

There is no proven way to prevent Job syndrome. Good general hygiene is helpful.

Some doctors may recommend preventive antibiotics for people who many infections, especially with Staphylococcus aureus. This treatment does not change the condition, but it can lessen its complications.

References

Genetics Home Reference (GHR). Job Syndrome. Feb 2008. Accessed Nov. 13, 2008.

Immune Deficiency Foundation. Immune Deficiency Foundation Patient & Family Handbook. Chapter 12: Hyper IgE Syndrome. 4th ed. 2007. Accessed Nov. 13, 2008.


Review Date: 8/1/2011
Reviewed By: John A. Daller, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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