Verneuil’s disease awareness week: one in 100 Belgians affected, time to break the taboo
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    Verneuil’s disease awareness week: one in 100 Belgians affected, time to break the taboo

    More than 110,000 Belgians, 75% of whom are women, are affected by Verneuil’s disease. The condition is also known as Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). Hotter weather as summer approaches means added difficulties for people who suffer from this inflammatory skin disease. To tie in with this, Verneuil’s disease awareness week will start on Monday. The aim is to inform people about this little-known condition. The painful, purulent and odorous abscesses the condition causes are often wrongly attributed to a lack of hygiene. 

    Verneuil’s disease causes skin inflammation, generally in areas with skin folds (armpits, groin, buttocks, under the breasts or the inside of the thigh). Patients often develop painful sores, cysts or abscesses which have a strong odour, which can cause a lot of social problems.  

    Although the disease is often attributed to a lack of hygiene, it is actually caused by the patient’s immune system not working properly.  

    Verneuil’s disease is still severely under-diagnosed, according to AbbVie, which is behind the campaign. A diagnosis takes seven years on average. A sufferer usually consults a GP, emergency doctor or gynaecologist first. “But these doctors don’t recognise the symptoms as HS and tell the patient they have an infection when they actually have an inflammatory disease. This means the patient ends up being bounced between different doctors and services”, says Professor Del Marmol, head of dermatology at the Erasmus hospital. 

    The campaign aims to encourage people to do an online diagnosis ( and learn more about the condition.

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times