Maculopapular Rash


Maculopapular rash is a skin rash that is characterized by parts of the skin turning red with small bumps on it.  The skin can develop into papules and macules. In fact the term ‘maculopapular’ is deserved from the two aforementioned words – macules which mean flat, tiny pigmented areas of the skin and papules which mean tiny, swollen bumps on the skin. Maculopapular rash is also known as HIV rash.

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Maculopapular rash symptoms

  • Though most rashes in this case is red in color, with time, the color may change into a deeper hue or take another color together as the condition progresses into a more severe stage. This characteristic is also called ‘erythematous’.
  • It is not easy to distinguish maculopapular rash from other types of rash like Fifth Disease rash. They also look similar to heat rash or rashes formed from Scarlett Fever, measles etc.
  • The rash can develop in any part of the body, some may get them on the trunk and torso area while others can get maculopapular rash on the face.  Children have been known to get these rashes on their palms and the soles of their feet.

Maculopapular rash can be a symptom for many diseases and disorders which are given as below –

  • Scarlett Fever – People who get Scarlett Fever get maculopapular rash for a day or two after contracting fever.  The rash stays on for three or four days and then they disappear.  The affected skin area peels for some time and the healing process can even take some weeks.
  • Measles- Maculopapular rash is one of the main signs of measles.  The person who is affected by measles gets high fever following which he or she can get these rashes.  Initially, they are red in color and during the later stages, maculopapular rash turns brown. They do disappear after some days.
  • Typhus Fever- This is triggered by body lice and is typified by high fever and rash.
  • Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever – This develops almost a week following the fever. This is a dangerous form of fever with a fatality rate of 25 percent.

Maculopapular rash causes

The causes of maculopapular rash can be attributed to many diseases and triggers which are given as below

  1. HIV-1 Disease- There is a reason why maculopapular rash is called HIV rash.  The type 1 HIV disease is one of the main causes for maculopapular rash.
  2. Epstein – Barr virus – This virus can cause maculopapular rash and along with this, it can also cause certain types of cancers and blister. The virus is more known to affect people in the African continent and China.
  3. Scabies – The maculopapular rash when caused by scabies, can cause irritation and itching of the skin.
  4. Syphilis- This is a chronic disease which causes maculopapular rash ulcers.
  5. Dengue – This infectious, tropical disease is spreads by mosquitoes, and is one of the main causes for maculopapular rash.  One gets headache, fever, joint pain apart from skin rash.
  6. Rubella – This contagious disease is also a form of measles, albeit a lighter one which can last for a few days. This is caused by the rubella virus and one of the symptoms is maculopapular rash
  7. Antibiotic side-effect- Maculopapular rash can also be caused as a side-effect due to medications like amoxicillin, cefobid, cefoperazone sodium, and other antibiotics. Chemotherapy used for cancer patients can also lead to rashes.
  8. Low cholesterol – People consumes too much Vitamin B Niacin; have low cholesterol which in turns causes maculopapular rash.

Maculopapular rash treatment

The doctor will address the line of treatment of maculopapular rash with reference to the root cause.  So while treating the various conditions and diseases that cause many symptoms, they will also try to treat the rashes. Here is some treatment information

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  1. If maculopapular rash is caused due to Marburg Hemorrhagic fever, there is a specialized line of treatment to follow.  The virus that causes the problem is neutralized with ultraviolet radiation and gamma radiation.
  2. Epstein-Barr virus affected maculopapular rash is treated with painkillers, good intake of fluids like boiled water and rest.
  3. Dengue can be treated with intravenous or oral hydration.
  4. Chikungunya is treated with cholorquine an anti-inflammatory drug.
  5. Though the maculopapular rash by itself  does not seriously affect the body, it is important to talk your doctor and get it treated.

Maculopapular rash pictures

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