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Contagion rosacée.

Is rosacea contagious?

Rosacea is a common dermatological condition. Still relatively unknown, one of the most frequently asked 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 stigmatised 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.

Individuals stigmatised for their rosacea are often mistakenly thought to have developed the disease due to their lifestyle. A study conducted by Jerry TAN revealed that a third of rosacea patients surveyed reported feelings of stigmatisation - 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 stigmatisation is also linked to the unfounded popular belief that individuals with red noses or cheeks are automatically alcoholics.

This situation arises from the lack of information available to the general public regarding rosacea, from preconceived notions that circulate on the subject, and particularly from information concerning 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 is often mistakenly believed, particularly due to the use of antibiotics (such as doxycycline) by patients suffering from rosacea. However, these antibiotics are used here for their action anti-inflammatory in order to reduce the papules and pustules associated with this disease. There is no evidence to suggest 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 demonstrated in a study that out of 63 patients suffering from rosacea, 40 (63.4%) had a positive H. pylori stool antigen. Given that H. pylori can be transmitted through direct contact with the saliva or faeces of an infected person, it can be hypothesised that rosacea could be transmitted via 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 response involved in the pathophysiology of rosacea.

To date, no association between H. pylori and the onset of rosacea has been demonstrated, therefore 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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