Mouth lesions and spots on the palate may be a new symptom of the novel coronavirus, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that one-third of COVID-19 patients with skin rashes on their arms and legs also had breakouts on the roofs of their mouths.
What’s more, these splotches usually appeared about two weeks after people first experienced more well-known symptoms such as fever or shortness of breath.
The team from Ramon y Cajal University Hospital in Madrid, Spain, says doctors and nurses should examine the oral cavities of confirmed or suspected coronavirus patients to see if they are also exhibiting these signs.
A new study from Spain found that one-third of coronavirus patients with skin rashes had enanthem, which are rash-like lesions that usually form in the mouth (above)
All the patients with the rash-like splotches were between ages 40 and 69 and four of the six were female. Pictured: The rash on the exterior of a coronavirus patient’s body
At the onset of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded just three symptoms of the virus on its website: fever, cough and shortness of breath.
However, in April, the federal health agency expanded its list to include several more signs of infection including chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.
Health officials have said that as more is learned about the new virus, new symptoms may also emerge.
For the study, published in JAMA Dermatology, the team looked at 21 coronavirus patients a hospital who had a skin rash from March 30 to April 8.
Six patients had enanthem, which is a rash that looks like small spots that typically appear in the mucous membranes, such as the mouth, nose and throat.
The average time between the onset of classic symptoms such as coughing and these lesions were about 12 days.
All were between ages 40 and 69 and four of the six were female, suggesting this symptom might affect certain subgroups of patients.
The team says this is not the first time enanthem has been seen in COVID-19 patients, with reports of the rash recorded in Italy.
‘Despite the increasing reports of skin rashes in patients with COVID-19, establishing an etiological diagnosis is challenging,’ the authors wrote.
‘However, the presence of enanthem is a strong clue that suggests a viral etiology rather than a drug reaction, especially when a petechial pattern is observed. ‘
The researchers noted that many coronavirus patients don’t have their mouths examined due to safety concerns that they’ll expel infected droplets.
Because of this, and the fact that patients are often wearing masks, it is possible that hundreds more have had mouth lesions.
The findings are reminiscent from an April report, in which a different group of Spanish scientists found that lesions and bruises on toes were linked to the virus.
In the US, there are more than 3.7 million confirmed cases of the virus and more than 140,000 deaths.