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Contagion rosacée.

Is rosacea contagious?

Rosacea is a common dermatological condition. Still relatively unknown, one of the most recurring questions about the disease is whether it is contagious. We answer this question in this article.

Summary
Published March 6, 2024, by Kahina, Scientific Editor — 4 min read
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Rosacea, a stigmatized disease.

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin disease. It can have a negative impact on one's psychological well-being and social life, as well as overall quality of life, associated with discomfort, anxiety, low self-esteem, and avoidance of social situations. Moreover, these psychological factors can exacerbate the vasomotor flushes in rosacea, thus perpetuating distress.

People stigmatized for their rosacea are often mistakenly thought to have developed the disease due to their lifestyle. A study conducted by Jerry TAN showed that a third of rosacea patients surveyed reported feelings of stigmatization - feeling dirty/ugly because of their skin, with the impression of being stared at or being the subject of misconceptions, rude comments, or jokes about their skin disease. This stigmatization is also linked to the unfounded popular belief that people with red noses or cheeks are automatically alcoholics.

This situation arises from the lack of information available to the general public about rosacea, common misconceptions that circulate on the subject, particularly information regarding the potential contagious nature of rosacea.

Rosacea: Is there a confirmed risk of vertical transmission?

The answer is no. Rosacea is not considered a contagious disease. This misconception often arises due to the use of antibiotics (such as doxycycline) by patients with rosacea. However, these antibiotics are used here for their action anti-inflammatory properties to reduce the papules and pustules associated with this disease. There is no evidence that rosacea can be transmitted through skin contact or by inhaling airborne bacteria.

However, some recent studies have attempted to observe a possible link between contamination by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that infects the gastric mucosa, and rosacea. Reza PIRI and his team showed in a study that out of 63 patients with rosacea, 40 (63.4%) had a positive H. pylori stool antigen. Knowing that H. pylori can be transmitted through direct contact with the saliva or feces of an infected person, it can be hypothesized that rosacea could be transmitted through this bacterium.

However, the association would actually be more between the infection by H. pylori and the severity of rosacea, not its onset. Studies have found that although the eradication treatment of H. pylori does not completely treat rosacea, it does reduce its severity. The mechanism would be as follows: the infection by H. pylori can trigger a cytotoxic reaction leading to the release of TNF-α and IL-8 due to the cytotoxin-associated gene A (CagA) virulence factor, thereby exacerbating the inflammatory reaction involved in the pathophysiology of rosacea.

To date, no association between H. pylori and the onset of rosacea has been demonstrated, thus it remains impossible to contract through contagion.

Sources

  • TAN J. & al. Feelings of stigmatization in patients with rosacea. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (2016).

  • PIRI R. & al. The Association between Helicobacter pylori infection and rosacea. Archives of Clinical Infectious Diseases (2018).

  • NAVARRO-LÓPEZ V. & al. Rosacea, microbiome and probiotics: the gut-skin axis. Frontiers in Microbiology (2024).

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