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Fever and rash in the immunocompetent patient

Fred A Lopez, MD
Charles V Sanders, MD
Section Editor
Peter F Weller, MD, MACP
Deputy Editor
Allyson Bloom, MD


Fever with an accompanying rash is a common symptom constellation in patients presenting to clinicians' offices and emergency departments. Skin manifestations may provide the only early clue to an underlying infection, may be the hallmark of contagious disease, and/or may be an early sign of a life-threatening infection or serious noninfectious disorder. The differential diagnosis of fever and rash is extremely broad, but this symptom complex provides an opportunity for the diligent clinician to establish a probable etiology through a careful history and physical examination.

A systematic approach is crucial for establishing a timely diagnosis, determining early therapy when appropriate, and considering isolation of the patient if necessary. Epidemiologic clues are important to pursue, such as [1-6]:

Age of the patient

Season of the year

Travel history

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Literature review current through: Dec 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 13, 2016.
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