Koplik's spots (kop'liks) are small, irregular, red spots with a minute bluish white speck in the center of each seen on the buccal mucosa and lingual mucosa (mucous membrane of the inside of the cheek and tongue) and are pathognomonic of early stage measles. They are named after Henry Koplik (1858-1927), an American pediatrician who first described them in 1896.
They often appear a few days before the rash arrives and can be a useful sign to look for in children known to be exposed to the measles virus.
The first description of these spots by some authors are ascribed to Reubold, Würzburg 1854, by others to Johann Andreas Murray (1740-1791). Before Koplik, the German internist Carl Jakob Adolf Christian Gerhardt (1833-1902) in 1874, the Danish physician N. Flindt in 1879, and the Russian Nicolai Feodorowitsch von Filatov (1847-1902) in 1897, had observed equivalent phenomena.
- Koplik, H. The diagnosis of the invasion of measles from a study of the exanthema as it appears on the buccal mucous membrane. Archives of Pediatrics, New York, 1896; 13: 918-922." (accessed from http://www.whonamedit.com/synd.cfm/1437.html on 9/13/2006)
- Image of Koplik's spots - dentistry.leeds.ac.uk.