COVID-19: Skin Rashes May Help Diagnosis

Pavankumar Kamat

January 22, 2021

A new study strongly supports including skin rashes in the list of suspected symptoms of COVID-19. The findings were published in the  British Journal of Dermatology.

Researchers analysed data from 336,847 UK users of the COVID Symptom Study app to evaluate the utility of skin rashes in the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Additionally, an independent online survey was conducted with 11,546 respondents to collect data on skin-specific symptoms of COVID-19.

The presence of skin rashes was significantly associated with a greater likelihood of a positive SARS-CoV-2 swab test result (OR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.42-1.97). Body rashes appeared more frequently than acral lesions (6.8% vs 3.1%, respectively); however, both had comparable predictive values (OR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.37-1.99 vs OR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.33-2.28, respectively).

The findings of the online survey showed that 17 per cent of SARS-CoV-2-positive respondents had skin rashes as the first presentation and 21 per cent reported rashes as the only COVID-19 clinical sign.

The authors in collaboration with the British Association of Dermatologists have curated a catalogue of 400 images of the most common cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19. The catalogue is publicly available at

"Increased awareness from the public and healthcare professionals regarding COVID-19 skin changes will allow more efficient detection of infection and contact tracing," the authors stated.

Visconti A, Bataille V, Rossi N, Kluk J, Murphy R, Puig S, Nambi R, Bowyer RCE, Murray B, Bournot A, Wolf J, Ourselin S, Steves CJ, Spector TD, Falchi M. Diagnostic value of cutaneous manifestation of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Br J Dermatol. 2021 Jan 14 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1111/bjd.19807. PMID: 33448030 View full text

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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