Recognition of Viral Infections in Skin Conditions


Prahlad G Menon, PhD, Opu Labs Inc.


Skin rashes appear during febrile illnesses and may be caused by various infectious diseases, including viral infection.  We hypothesize that the time of onset of symptoms manifesting on the skin surface and the characteristics of the rash itself viz. its morphology, location, distribution, etc. in addition to a given patient’s history of specific underlying diseases could be helpful in expediting a clinical diagnosis of specific viral infections. However, the characterization of the etiology of atypical exanthems remains a complex task. We propose to tackle this task of exanthem classification using a novel image-based classification approach underpinned on novel neural network architectures, preceded by custom image-processing pipelines implementing prior image de-noising and region-of-interest segmentation.   Our first target for classification is the maculopapular rash [1] – the most common type of rash in a viral infection – as well as related Koplik spots, livedoids, cutis marmorata, perniosis/chillblains and residual brown skin, which all may be correlated with the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19).   Per recent reports, we will also attempt to classify the petechiae rash that has been found in some COVID19 patients [2], similar to the viral rash which manifests with dengue fever.

Keywords:  Skin Rashes, Febrile Illness, Infectious Diseases, COVID19, Viral Infection 


[1] Kang, J.H., 2015. Febrile illness with skin rashes. Infection & chemotherapy, 47(3), pp.155-166. 

[2] Wiwanitkit, V., 2020. COVID-19 can present with a rash and be mistaken for Dengue. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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