Pemphigus vulgaris Pemphigus vulgaris is a rare autoimmune, bullous disease that occasionally occurs during childhood. The disease affects both the skin and mucous membranes and can be life threatening. The typical lesions of pemphigus vulgaris are pictured in Fig. 17-1. Erosions of the lips, gums, tongue, and palate, as pictured here, are a common presenting symptom and may be misdiagnosed early in the course of the disease. The difficulty in chewing and swallowing that may occur can become a significant complication.