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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Pemphigus & Bullous Pemphigoid

What is an Autoimmune Disease?

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “If a person has an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks self, targeting the cells, tissues, and organs of a person’s own body.” Pemphigus is a very rare but severe autoimmune disease in which blisters of various sizes break out on mucous membranes all over the body. Left untreated, it can be fatal, but most individuals who receive treatment survive. Bullous pemphigoid is a chronic blistering of the skin, which can range from mildly itchy welts to severe blisters and infections. It mostly affects the elderly but has been seen in all ages.

Internet Resources

Bullous Pemphigoid
The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology gives an overview of this autoimmune disease and its treatment.

International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation
A discussion group and clinical trial information are available from this site.

This is a very clearly written booklet about this disease. Includes a helpful glossary.


  • Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Longe JL, ed. 2011. Available in print at the Health Learning Center or electronically at  http://www.nmh.org/nm/health library virtual library .
  • Fitzpatrick’s Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. Fitzpatrick TB. 2009.


To gain a better understanding of how the immune system works, visit one of the following sites:

Immune System and Disorders

Understanding the Immune System from NCI


International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation
Phone: 916.922.1298
Fax: 916.922.1458
Contact and referral information for both support groups and questions are available.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the  Health Learning Center  at 312.926.5465 or HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateMarch 15, 2012