Cutaneous cytomegalovirus manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment: a review

Dermatol Online J. 2019 Jan 15;25(1):13030/qt84f936cp.


The possible presentations of cytomegalovirus (CMV) are vast not only in its systemic manifestations, but also in the various cutaneous lesions that may result. Cutaneous cytomegalovirus is rarely reported in the literature because the clinical and pathologic features can be difficult to identify. Its identification, however, is vital as cutaneous human CMV infection can signal systemic disease and an unfavorable prognosis. The objective of this study is to aid in recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of CMV according to dermatological evidence. A complete literature search was performed within PubMed, resulting in the inclusion of 58 patient cases. The most common dermatologic manifestation was perianal or oral ulcers, but the locations and types of lesions noted throughout the review were numerous. Treatment is often simple, yet incorrect diagnoses along with concurrent illnesses can often complicate management. It is imperative for CMV to be detected early in its course to prevent mortality, especially in the immunocompromised. Dermatological presentations are often the first sign of this deadly virus' activity and it is essential that these diagnoses are made more efficient and accurate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / pathology
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Organ Transplantation
  • Skin Diseases, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Skin Diseases, Viral / drug therapy
  • Skin Diseases, Viral / immunology
  • Skin Diseases, Viral / pathology


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents