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Classification and external resources
File:Rash of rubella on skin of child's
ICD-10 A38., B05.-B09.
ICD-9 034, 055-057, 782.1
DiseasesDB 25831
MeSH D005076

An exanthem (from Greek "exanthema", a breaking out[1]) is a widespread rash usually occurring in children. Exanthems can be caused by toxins or drugs, microorganisms, or can result from autoimmune disease.

It can be contrasted with an enanthem.



Historically, six "classical" infectious childhood exanthems have been recognized,[2] four of which are viral. Numbers were provided in 1905.[3]

The four viral exanthema have much in common, and are often studied together as a class. They include:

Name Number Virus
measles (rubeola) "first disease" measles virus
rubella, identified in 1881.[4] "third disease" rubella virus
erythema infectiosum, identified as a distinct condition in 1896.[5] "fifth disease" parvovirus B19
roseola infantum "sixth disease" HHV-6 and HHV-7

Scarlet fever, or "second disease", is associated with the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes. (Measles and scarlet fever were distinguished in the 17th century.[4]) Fourth disease, a condition whose existence is not widely accepted today, was described in 1900.[4]

Many other common viruses apart from the ones mentioned above can also produce an exanthem as part of their presentation, though they are not considered part of the classic numbered list:


Vaccinations now exist against measles, rubella and chickenpox.[7]

See also


External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary





countable and uncountable; plural exanthems

exanthem (countable and uncountable; plural exanthems)

  1. A widespread rash usually occurring in children.

See also

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