What common systemic infections cause a rash?

These are usually viral infections such as:

  • Rubella (German measles)
  • Measles
  • Chicken pox and shingles
  • AIDS

These infections are discussed in Unit 10 on common childhood illnesses and Unit 9 on AIDS.

Some serious systemic bacterial infections, such as meningococcal septicaemia, also present with a rash. Many drugs used to treat systemic infections and other conditions may also cause rashes. Petechiae (purpura) associated with fever is a dangerous sign and these children must be referred immediately for investigation and treatment. A purple rash suggests necrotic skin or bleeding into the skin, and should always be taken seriously.

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