Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT), the condition resulting from a deficiency of hepatic uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase activity, is the commonest form of porphyria. Both acquired and familial form exist and are commonly associated in adults with liver disease and hepatic iron overload. The condition is extremely rare in children; most cases of childhood PCT are familial and some particularly severe cases have been shown to have a hepatoerythropoietic porphyria or homozygous uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase deficiency. A case is described of hepatoerythropoietic porphyria in which the disease was first precipitated at the age of two by a coincidental hepatitis A infection and improved as the hepatitis cleared. This paper reviews the evidence that viral hepatitis may precipitate overt PCT in children in a manner analogous to the precipitation of PCT in adults by alcohol associated liver disease.
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