What is Epidermolysis Bullosa?

EB is a group of diseases characterized by blister formation after minor trauma to the skin. This family of disorders, most of which are inherited, range in severity from mild to the severely disabling and life-threatening diseases of the skin. This rare genetic disorder affects all ethnic and racial groups. Estimates indicate that as many as 100,000 Americans suffer from some form of EB.

Try to imagine a person with painful wounds similar to burns covering most of his or her body. Unlike burns, these wounds never go away. For children, riding a bike, skating, or participating in sports is difficult because normal activities of children causes chronic sores. Wounds may cover up to 75 percent of the body. Imagine a diet of only liquids or soft foods because blistering and scarring occur in the mouth and esophagus. Scarring also causes the fingers and toes to fuse, leaving deformities which severely limit function. Imagine a life tied to hospitals for wound treatment, blood transfusions, biopsies and surgeries. The eyes often blister preventing sight for days. Chronic anemia reduces energy and growth is retarded. There is little hope for life beyond 30 years. Children with EB are often referred to as Butterfly Children because their skin is as fragile as a butterfly’s wings.

This describes the life of a child born with the severe forms of epidermolysis bullosa.

» Read further information about EB on the Stanford Dermatology website.

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