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Maculopapular Rash

Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.

What is a Maculopapular Rash?

This is a skin condition wherein the sufferer may have either macules, papules or both. Thus, it is named after the fusion of these words. Macules usually appear as flat, small, non-elevated and discolored regions of the epidermal layer of the skin; whereas, papules are small and swollen bumps on the skin. In the medical world, this is otherwise known as HIV rash.

Maculopapular rashes can affect all age groups and these may appear in any parts of the body including the face, trunk and extremities. In children, the appearance of the rashes is more prominent on the palms and soles. Generally, these rashes are red in appearance but in the later stages these may become discolored.

Maculopapular Rash Causes

Epstein-Barr Virus

This is usually related to the people suffering from cancer in the regions of Africa and China and is brought about by an animal virus which can cause fever and painful skin blisters.


The maculopapular rashes in Syphilis may rupture and form ulcerative blisters. This can be extremely painful and people suffering from this may be treated with Penicillin.


This condition is contagious and may cause itching leading to skin irritation.


Rubella is also known as German measles, a slightly mild form of measles which can last between 3 to 4 days.


Mosquitoes are usually the carrier of the Chikungunya virus which can cause high fever and rashes.


This is believed to be the primary cause of most maculopapular rashes. Mosquitoes are still the culprit for this infection and this is manifested by high fever, joint pains and rashes. This is a very lethal condition especially when platelet levels drop which leads to excessive bleeding and eventually, death.

Type 1 HIV

This is the causative agent of the ominous AIDS. The type 1 Human Immunodeficiency Virus usually brings about maculopapular rashes. This is the reason why maculopapular rash is also known as HIV rash.

Low Cholesterol

Those people with low cholesterol levels are also likely to develop maculopapular rashes. This takes place because of the excessive use of vitamin B3, Niacin.


Even simple drugs like amoxicillin and other antibiotics may give rise to maculopapular rash. This can also be one of the side effects of drugs like Cefobid and Cefoperazone Sodium. Chemotherapeutic drugs in cancer patients can also cause maculopapular rash.

Maculopapular Rash Treatment

Symptomatic Treatment

The treatment for maculopapular rash is dependent upon the presentation of the symptoms. Usually, the target of the treatment is aimed at the causative agent of the disease which has given rise to maculopapular rash.


When for example the Chikungunya virus is the causative agent of the maculopapular rash, right after the confirmation of the disease through serologic test, Chloroquine is usually given. This is an anti-inflammatory drug which helps palliate the disease and its symptoms.

Intravenous Fluids and Oral Rehydration

Mild cases of Dengue fever can be treated with this. However, severe ones require blood transfusions.


When EBV (Epstein-Barr Virus) is the cause of the maculopapular rash, painkillers and other forms of analgesia can be given to the patient.

Rest and Oral Fluid Intake

People afflicted with the Epstein-Barr Virus are also suggested to take loads of rest and as well as increase their fluid intake.

Ultraviolet and Gamma Radiations

Since there is no definite cure for this virus, these radiations may be the last resort to treat maculopapular rash.

Advanced Medical Treatment

This is required especially when the maculopapular rash is brought about by Marburg hemorrhagic fever.

Maculopapular Rash Diagnosis

Patient History and Thorough Physical Assessment

One can only be certain that an individual has maculopapular rash accounting from the patientโ€™s disease history. This includes past diseases and illnesses and as well as its onset. Medical practitioners should also closely inspect the sites and the rashes so as to confirm whether or not these are maculopapular rashes. One should also note for pain, itchiness and irritation at the affected site.

Laboratory Tests

To confirm the disease, one must submit himself or herself for a Blood Count, culture test of pustules, cerebrospinal fluid test and syphilis test. This is carried out by a trained medical practitioner. Furthermore, there may be examination of the ENT, lung, genitals, joints and nerves. These are typically conducted.

Diagnosing Based on Clinical Manifestations

Maculopapular rash can also be diagnosed basing on the presentation of symptoms. When this appears on the face, it can either be caused by measles or other viral infections. Gonococcemia might be the cause if it is accompanied with headache and confusion. Joint swelling may indicate meningococcemia. If one has breathing problems, pharyngitis and anaphylaxis can be pointed out to be the cause and when there is purulent urethral drainage, this indicates that the maculopapular rash has already invaded the private parts of the body.

Maculopapular Rash Pictures

Pictures, Photos and Images of Maculopapular Rash…

Maculopapular Rash Pictures 1

source : mcgill.ca

Maculopapular Rash Pictures 2

source : Rash-Pictures.com

Maculopapular Rash Photos

source : UPMC.edu

Maculopapular Rash Images

source : Bmj.com

Pictures of Maculopapular Rash

source : Mja.com.au

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