By E.J. Mundell
The rashes are clinically known as enanthem, and it's not surprising that they are showing up with COVID-19, said a U.S. dermatologist unconnected to the new study.
"An enanthem is a rash [small spots] on the mucous membranes," explained Dr. Michele Green, who practices at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "It is very common in patients with viral infections like chickenpox and hand, foot and mouth disease. It is characteristic of many viral rashes to affect mucous membranes."
The new Spanish study was published July 15 in JAMA Dermatology. Researchers led by Dr. Juan Jimenez-Cauhe, of University Hospital Ramon y Cajal in Madrid, examined 21 patients diagnosed in early April with COVID-19 and associated skin rashes.
Of these patients, six patients (29%) had enanthem on the inside of their mouths. The affected patients ranged in age from 40 to 69, the team said, and four of the six were women.
The mouth rash appeared anywhere from two days before the onset of other COVID symptoms to 24 days after, with an average time of about 12 days after onset of symptoms.
In most cases, the enanthem did not appear to be tied to any medicines the patients were taking, further strengthening the notion that it was illness with the new coronavirus causing the reddish spots to appear.
Just how widespread this symptom is with COVID-19 is still unknown, since "owing to safety concerns, many patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 do not have their oral cavity examined," Jimenez-Cauhe's group noted.