By Gary M. White, MD

When amoxicillin or ampicillin is given for Epstein Barr Virus causing infectious mononucleosis, a characteristic diffuse rash occurs about 30% of the time [Pediatrics 2013;131:e1424– e1427].


A rash may accompany Epstein-Barr Virus induce infectious mononucleosis about 10% of the time. It occurs early in the course and may be maculopapular, petechial, scarlatiniform, urticarial or similar to erythema multiforme. It involves mainly the trunk and typically spares the extremities.

In contrast, the "amoxicillin rash" tends to be more severe and generalized, affecting the face, trunk and extremities and sometimes the palms and soles.


Stopping the offending antibiotic is important. Prevention is the key. Not every sore throat requires and antibiotic. If needed, penicillin may be considered.


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