Facial rash in a newborn


neonatal lupus
neonatal autoimmune disease
Sjögren syndrome type A antigen antibodies
congenital heart block
facial rash
skin lesions

How to Cite

Mota, S., Sá, C., Silva, N., Almeida, F., Vieira, A. P., & Pereira, A. (2021). Facial rash in a newborn. Journal of Pediatric and Neonatal Individualized Medicine (JPNIM), 11(1), e110127. https://doi.org/10.7363/110127


A female newborn, born at 38 weeks from an uncomplicated pregnancy in a healthy 36-years-old mother, presented at birth with desquamative erythematous plaques with irregular borders, distributed bilaterally in the orbital, nasal and malar regions. Although there was no history of maternal autoimmune disease, neonatal lupus (NL) was suspected. Maternal and newborn screenings were positive for Sjögren syndrome type A antigen (anti-Ro/SSA) antibodies. No other alterations of NL were found in the newborn. Rheumatologic consultation on the mother showed no other alterations besides the antibodies. The newborn was discharged on day 3 of life without treatment and recommendations to avoid sun exposure. Outpatient follow-up was ensured in neonatology, dermatology and pediatric cardiology. The rash resolved during the first year of life, leaving slight local skin atrophy.

NL is a rare transferred autoimmune disease with an incidence estimated as 1:20,000 live births. It occurs due to placental transfer of maternal autoantibodies. The major manifestations are cardiac and cutaneous, but hepatic, hematologic or neurologic findings may also be present. The rash usually affects the face and scalp and may be present at delivery but more often develops later, after exposure to ultraviolet light. It usually resolves within the first year of life without sequelae. NL is the leading cause of congenital heart block, but if it is not present at birth it rarely develops. Some mothers do not have a known autoimmune disease at the time of birth but may develop it later in life. Despite NL being a passively acquired autoimmune disease, the child is at increased risk of rheumatologic disease in childhood or adolescence.