Herpes compunctorum: cutaneous herpes simplex virus infection complicating tattooing

Catherine S Marshall, Felicity Murphy, Shannon E McCarthy and Allen C Cheng
Med J Aust 2007; 187 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb01435.x
Published online: 19 November 2007

To the Editor: A 30-year-old man presented with pain, swelling and discharge from lesions on his left arm. He had undergone extensive tattooing on the arm 3 days earlier at a commercial tattoo operation, where single-use needles were used, with initial drawing of lines followed by additional shading. The patient complained of severe neuropathic pain in the arm, which was greater than would be expected from uncomplicated bacterial cellulitis. He did not give a history of oral or genital herpes and had previously been tattooed without complication. On presentation, the patient had a low-grade fever (37.9°C), a heart rate of 80 beats/min and blood pressure of 130/80 mmHg. He had no neurological deficit.

  • Catherine S Marshall1
  • Felicity Murphy1
  • Shannon E McCarthy1
  • Allen C Cheng1,2

  • 1 Department of Infectious Diseases, Geelong Hospital, Barwon Health, Geelong, VIC.
  • 2 Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.



Acknowledgement: We thank forum members at for Latin grammatical advice.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.