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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Wells syndrome

Other Names for this Disease
  • Bullous cellulitis with eosinophilia
  • Eosinophilic cellulitis
  • Wells' syndrome
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Your Question

I have been diagnosed with Wells syndrome. How is this condition treated?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is Wells syndrome?

Wells syndrome is a rare eosinophilic disorder characterized by itchy, burning, red, and inflamed areas on the skin often on the lower arm or leg. The lesions may be single or multiple. They are usually red at first (looking like cellulitis) then change to brown red, to blue gray, then greenish gray. The lesions are usually painful and are sometimes associated with a fever. They typically heal without scarring within weeks to months; however they often recur. The cause of Wells syndrome is unknown; but some researchers think that Wells syndrome is an autoimmune reaction.[1][2]
Last updated: 12/14/2011

What causes Wells syndrome?

The underlying cause of Wells syndrome is unknown. Wells syndrome has been diagnosed in people with eosinophilic disorders in addition to a variety of other conditions. This condition has been associated with spider bites, parasitic infections, dental abscess, myeloproliferative disease, leukemia, eczema, Churg-Strauss syndrome, viral skin infections, herpes simplex infection, fungal infections, tetanus immunization, and drug reactions, which suggests that this condition is caused by a reactive or hypersensitivity phenomenon.[3]
Last updated: 12/14/2011

How might Wells syndrome be treated?

In addition to treating causative factors or triggers, oral or topical corticosteroids such as Prednisone are the mainstay of therapy. Systemic corticosteroids are the most effective treatment, but they may lead to corticosteroid dependence. Other treatment options include the use of griseofulvin, H1 antihistamines, cyclosporine, and dapsone.[3]
Last updated: 12/14/2011

Who can I contact to learn more about Wells syndrome?

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the National Institutes of Health )NIH), offers printed materials on Wells syndrome. Although this information is not available on the NIAMS Web site, we recommend calling the toll-free number below to request a copy.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Information Clearinghouse
National Institutes of Health
1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-3675
Toll free: 1-877-22-NIAMS
Telephone: 301-495-4484
TTY: 301-565-2966
Fax: 301-718-6366
Web site:

Last updated: 12/14/2011