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Dermatology Online Journal

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Cutaneous manifestations of the ebola virus


The current Ebola outbreak has drawn attention to the virus in the medical community. Zaire ebolavirus, more commonly known as ‘the Ebola virus,’ is a level 4-security agent in the Filoviridae family. The main cutaneous finding of Ebola is a nonspecific maculopapular rash that appears between day four and six of disease. Patients have “ghost-like” features, and the rash initially presents on the upper arms, flexor forearms, and upper legs, sometimes in a centripetal fashion. Skin biopsy, immunohistochemistry, ELISA, and electron microscopy can help provide early diagnosis and conceivably prevent spread if proper precautionary measures are in place.

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