Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome is characterized by the abrupt onset of fever, petechiae, septic shock, and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) followed by acute hemorrhagic necrosis of the adrenal glands and severe cardiovascular dysfunction. Patients often experience prodromic, nonspecific symptoms, including malaise, headache, weakness, dizziness, cough, arthralgia (joint pain), and myalgia (muscle pain).
A characteristic skin rash with a typical evolution occurs in approximately 75% of patients with Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome.
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