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Dermatol Online J. 2003 Aug;9(3):4.

Viral exanthems.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa, USA. lycia-scott@uiowa.edu


Viral exanthems are mostly associated with self-limited diseases. However, in some cases diagnosis of an exanthem may be crucial to patients and their contacts. Certain exanthems have fairly characteristic morphology, but in many cases an accurate diagnosis cannot be made on the basis of morphology alone. Historical factors may be helpful when evaluating these patients, specifically their disease contacts, immunization record, previous exanthematous illnesses, and associated prodromal symptoms. Some illnesses are seasonal and this knowledge may be useful. This manuscript reviews a number of common childhood exanthems. We included the most common viral exanthems encountered by primary-care physicians and dermatologists.

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