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September 1983

Mycoplasma Infection Simulating Acute Meningococcemia

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, Division of Dermatology, Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Chicago.

Arch Dermatol. 1983;119(9):786-788. doi:10.1001/archderm.1983.01650330078017

Mycoplasma pneumoniae is an important cause of acute respiratory disease. Extrapulmonary sites of involvement in M pneumoniae infections predominantly include the CNS, heart, kidneys, joints, and skin, although other organs may be affected.1,2

A variety of skin lesions may be associated with M pneumoniae infection, including urticarial, maculopapular, vesicular, scarlatiniform, and morbilliform eruptions, although the most frequently reported manifestations are the common form of erythema multiforme and the Stevens-Johnson syndrome.3 To our knowledge, petechial skin lesions have been reported to accompany Mycoplasma infection in only one patient.4

The exanthem associated with acute meningococcemia is classically described as purpuric or petechial and is characterized by an abrupt and fulminant onset. Occasionally, however, some patients are initially seen with a diffuse maculopapular eruption early in the course of the disease.5,6

We describe herein a child who was initially seen with a dramatic illness that was characterized by the

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