Chilblains and COVID-19

A text by professor Marie Baeck and all members of the Dermatology Department of the Cliniques
universitaires Saint-Luc

Recently and in this pandemic context, several dermatologists and general practitioners, especially in Italy, France and Belgium, mentioned an unusually high number of cases of chilblains observed in patients otherwise asymptomatic or with mild symptoms possibly correlated with COVID-19 infection.

In an ongoing study (25 patients until now) conducted at the Department of Dermatology of the Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc in patients with suspected acro-located ischemic lesions (otherwise in good health, being mainly children, teenagers or young adults), reliable arguments support the absence of link between these lesions and a COVID-19 infection.

Indeed, for all of the patients for whom results are available, RT-PCR to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in nasopharyngeal swab (17 patients), but also serologic tests to detect IgM and IgG antibodies anti-SARS-CoV-2 (15 patients) were to date negative. Skin biopsies and extended biological explorations excluded other important causes of chilblains. Sedentary life induced by confinement in this lockdown pandemic period is a possible explanation of those lesions.