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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 131-141

Skin manifestation and diagnosis of febrile diseases by COVID-19 and other ribonucleic acid viruses: The diagnostic clues

1 Department of Dermatology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
2 Department of Dermatology, National Taiwan University Hospital; Department of Dermatology, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Tsen-Fang Tsai
Department of Dermatology, National Taiwan University Hospital, No. 7 Chung San South Road, Taipei
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ds.ds_32_20

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Many febrile diseases caused by ribonucleic acid virus infection demonstrate cutaneous manifestations with preceding prodromes. This review provides a flowchart highlighting the diagnostic clues of viral exanthem. Besides febrile prodromes, patients with chikungunya virus have severe arthralgias and macular hyperpigmentation on the noses. Coronavirus disease 2019 demonstrates unique acrocyanosis and pseudofrostbite besides erythematous rash and urticaria, suggesting abnormal coagulation. Dengue fever should be suspected when patients in the tropical region present with biphasic fever, headache, retroorbital pain, and centrifugal morbilliform rash. Dengue hemorrhagic fever, a potentially fatal complication, results from systemic vascular leakage. High-temperature fever and sudden-onset severe headache raise the possibility of Ebola virus infection. Patients with hand-foot-and-mouth disease may experience morbilliform or vesicular eruption, especially over the hands, feet, and oral mucosa. In acute human immunodeficiency virus infection, maculopapular eruptions often appear on the face and neck after prodromes. Primary human T-lymphotropic-III virus infection can induce widespread maculopapular or roseola-like exanthem, sparing the hands and feet. Cutaneous manifestations of rotavirus include generalized maculopapular rash, Sweet's syndrome, Henoch–Schonlein purpura, Gianotti–Crosti syndrome, and acute hemorrhagic edema. Rubella is usually suspected when low-grade fever and lymphadenopathy are accompanied by a discrete pinpoint-sized maculopapular rash, which spreads and diminishes faster than measles. Cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis followed by morbilliform eruptions and Koplik's spots are diagnostic of measles. Exanthem of Zika virus comprised of small pruritic papules that extend downwards. Laboratory testing is helpful in making a definitive diagnosis. Viral isolation, measurement of immunoglobulin M (IgM) or IgG, and/or reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction are useful diagnostic tools with favorable sensitivity and specificity.

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