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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The diagnosis is usually made clinically. Patients with typical target lesions and a history or coexisting of HSV infection the diagnosis should be easy but if there is any doubt (an atypical presentation or recurrent erythema multiforme without a history of HSV infection) confirmation is by skin biopsy (1).

Other investigations are directed at finding the underlying cause, and thus include:

  • drug history
  • chest radiology
  • atypical pneumonia titres
  • Tzanck smears
  • viral culture from scrapings
  • autoantibodies



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