African traditional medication and keloid formation in herpes zoster ophthalmicus

  • OO Komolafe
  • OT Ogunleye
  • OO Fasina
  • OA Komolafe
Keywords: Herpes zoster ophthalmicus, keloid scar, myth, traditional medication


Keloid scar complicating herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO) has not been much reported among Africans despite the African population having dark skin. We report on a middle-aged Nigerian with HZO who developed keloid scar following use of traditional herbs to the herpetic rashes. A 52-year-old immune-competent Nigerian male presented with a 2-week history of vesicular rashes involving the left side of the forehead down to the tip of the nose. He initially presented to an African traditional healer who had advised application of various herbs to the lesion. When he presented to the eye clinic, he was treated for the associated uveitis with significant improvement. The cicatricial skin change gradually became raised with clinical appearance of keloid at 1 year of follow-up. Cicatricial skin changes in HZO are not unusual, but keloid formation among Africans has not been much described. Late presentation, use of traditional herbs some of which have corrosive effect and secondary bacterial infection are the possible factors that may encourage such abnormal wound healing. The myth associated with HZO in the local African setting as well as the fact that African traditional healers are still widely accepted among most African communities may play a role in increasing the risk of keloid formation among our population following HZO infection.

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eISSN: 1119-3077