Koplik’s Spots

Are you suffering from grayish-white oral lesions? If you are, you may just be having Koplik Spots in your mouth. Read on to know what Koplik Spots are as well as its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Koplik Spots Definition

Medical researchers define Koplik Spots as tiny lesions with reddish borders that arise on the mucus membrane within the cheeks and the lips prior to the development of eruptions.

Koplik is pronounced as “Cope-lick” in the medical world. This is the actual pronunciation of the condition.

Picture 1 – Koplik Spots
Source – pathguy

Description of Koplik Spots Appearance

These spots are tiny in size and grayish-white in color. The appearance of Koplik Spots is similar to sand grains, with a reddish border surrounding them.

Where Are Koplik Spots Found?

These are mostly found on the inner lining of the cheek, known as the Buccal Mucosa. These are especially found along the opposite edge of the lower molar teeth.

These lesions usually arise in clusters in the side opposite the premolars.

Koplik Spots Causes

These lesions mainly arise as a result of measles, that itself is caused by the Rubeola virus that is a member of the Paramyxoviridae family. An infection of the endothileal cells results in an Enanthem (Koplik Spots). These lesions are said to be a prodromic viral enanthem (mucus membrane eruption) of measles. The spots arise two days prior to the appearance of the measles rashes.

In some cases, Koplik spots are supposed to arise as a result of Parvovirus b19 infection. In such cases, purpuric eruptions are also found to arise along with these spots.

Koplik Spots and Measles

The spots are often found to appear in the mouth of children who are infected with measles. The presence of these spots indicates measles infection in most cases.

Measles is regarded to be one of the most contagious childhood disorders. The virus is spread through coughing, sneezing as well as direct contact with the secretions of individuals already infected with this condition. Generally, the virus can live outside the body for as long as two hours. It can remain active on surfaces contaminated by the touch of infected persons and in the air. Measles usually infect children aged between five and ten and also adults who have not yet been vaccinated. After exposure to an infected person, the virus incubates within the body for about 10 to 12 days. Mild symptoms like red eyes, conjunctivitis, photophobia (sensitivity to light), fever, runny nose and cough usually manifest after the incubation period. These are often followed by the development of Koplik spots on the buccal mucosa.

Koplik Spots and Rubella

Sometimes, Koplik’s spots look like Forschheimer spots. Forschheimer spots are a type of fleeting skin eruption (Exanthem) that appears as discrete red spots over the soft palate as seen in Rubella (a contagious viral disease that is milder in intensity than measles) in some cases just before the onset of skin rashes.

Maculopapular Rash and Koplik Spots

Some individuals are seen to suffer from both Koplik spots and Maculopapular rashes. This typically happens when a person suffers from a skin condition known as Blanching maculopapular rash. It gives rise to both temporary maculopapular rashes and white Koplik spots. Both types of rashes may also appear as a result of side-effects of certain medicines like Cefobid, Cefoperazone Sodium, Amoxicillin and other antibiotics.

Koplik Spots in Mouth

These spots arise in the mouth as a result of measles. In the early measles phase (Rubeola), individuals are seen to suffer from tiny little oral lesions. These are particularly found to originate on the Buccal Mucosa or the inner side of the cheek, opposite the first and second upper molars.

Are Koplik Spots Contagious?

As aforementioned, these lesions arise due to a measles infection caused by the Rubeola virus. This is an extremely contagious virus that is spread by sneezing and coughing. It spreads from person to person through direct touch or contact with the throat or nasal secretions of an infected person. These lesions are not known to spread from person to person as such. However, the lesions may appear in a healthy person after contracting measles from an infected individual.

Koplik Spots Diagnosis

The diagnosis of Koplik Spots is not different from that of measles. A blood test can confirm the presence of Rubeola virus and help make a proper diagnosis. Doctors should also take the detailed medical history of the patient into account. The travel and sexual history as well as that of vaccination are also taken into account. An experienced healthcare provider can also make the diagnosis by simple physical observation of the lesions. Laboratory tests are rarely of any practical use. Specific types of IgM antibodies are used in diagnostic procedures in developed nations with a low incidence of measles.

The diagnosis of these spots is mainly based on the appearance of rashes of the classic Rubeola maculopapular variety.

Koplik Spots Differential Diagnosis

These lesions are not usually difficult to diagnose. This is due to the fact that they are focal and mostly seen in kids. However, differential diagnosis should aim at distinguishing these spots from Cheek-biting keratosis and Large Fordyce’s granules.

Are Koplik Spots Painful?

These lesions are generally painless. However, this condition may be associated with pain in the muscles of the body due to its relation with measles. As aforesaid, in patients of Koplik Spots Rubeola (measles) is the most common causative factor.

Koplik Spots Treatment

There is no specific cure for this disorder. The treatment of these spots is usually similar to the cure of measles. Bed rest, humid conditions and use of Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can provide sufferers with relief from the discomforting symptoms. Vitamin A supplements may be required to treat some children.

Koplik spots disappear in a rapid manner, generally after 18 hours. In individuals suffering from measles infection, complications like Pneumonia, Bronchitis, Ear Infection and Encephalitis may occur. Those not suffering from complications can recover very fast.

These lesions are completely curable. If you or any child your family is suffering from these spots, get in touch with a medical provider as fast as possible. This will help in early cure and make a faster recovery possible.

Koplik Spots Pictures

Here are some Koplik Spots images that will give you a fair idea about the appearance of these rashes. You can use these Koplik Spots photos for reference.

Photos 2 – Koplik Spots
Source – thachers

Picture 3 – Koplik’s Spots

Picture 2 – Koplik Spots Image
Source – wikimedia

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