Erythema multiforme due to Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection in two children

Pediatr Dermatol. 2006 Nov-Dec;23(6):546-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.2006.00307.x.


Mycoplasma pneumoniae is an important and highly relevant cause of bullous erythema multiforme, isolated mucositis, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome in children. In this article, we present two children with respiratory Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection and associated cutaneous findings within the spectrum of erythema multiforme. We review the literature associating these three entities with Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection and discuss controversies regarding the classification of erythema multiforme, as well as update reported infectious causes of the bullous form. Many understand the erythema multiforme spectrum to include bullous erythema multiforme, mucositis, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome in the order of increasing severity. We feel that this relationship should be reconsidered to help better understand the prognosis and outcomes. It is our opinion that bullous erythema multiforme is a separate, yet related condition that can occur in the context of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection. With many similarities to mucositis and Stevens-Johnson syndrome, bullous erythema multiforme can be considered part of a spectrum of disease that includes Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Unlike mucositis and Stevens-Johnson syndrome, bullous erythema multiforme caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection has low morbidity for the child. Mycoplasma pneumoniae-associated mucositis and Stevens-Johnson syndrome seem to occur along a spectrum with separate prognosis and potential pathogenesis compared with bullous erythema multiforme. Making the distinction between these conditions is valuable for predicting the child's prognosis. Patients who develop symptoms consistent with these conditions should be appropriately evaluated for Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection and closely monitored.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Erythema Multiforme / diagnosis*
  • Erythema Multiforme / drug therapy
  • Erythema Multiforme / microbiology*
  • Erythema Multiforme / virology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mycoplasma Infections / diagnosis*
  • Mycoplasma Infections / drug therapy
  • Mycoplasma Infections / microbiology*
  • Mycoplasma Infections / virology
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae*
  • Pneumonia, Mycoplasma / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Mycoplasma / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia, Mycoplasma / microbiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia, Viral / microbiology