Erysipelas

Erysipelas

Chris Schach

Author Bio -

 

Key Points
*Acute skin infection typically affecting exposed parts of the body
*Caused by bacterial infection, acquired when handling infected animal products
*Cutaneous symptoms consist of purple or red lesions which are smooth and shiny, and may be accompanied by blistering, pain, or burning

Erysipeloid is an acute skin infection which typically appears in exposed parts of the skin. The condition consists of the formation of purple or red lesions in the affected area, which are smooth and shiny and may be accompanied by the formation of tiny blisters and tenderness. Affected persons may also experience burning and/or pain in the affected area, and in rare cases the condition may be accompanied by fever, chills and general malaise. While it is very uncommon, the condition may, in some cases, affect multiple parts of the body. Additionally, the condition may take a systemic form and affect the brain, heart, lungs and/or joints, and affected persons may not exhibit cutaneous symptoms.

Erysipeloid is caused by an infection of the bacteria Erysipelothrix rusiopathiae. The infection is acquired through the handling of infected animal material, and must enter the bloodstream through an injury such as a cut or scrape. Persons who work in fields where the handling of animal products is common are at an increased risk for the condition.

Differential Diagnosis (Other conditions with similar appearance)

Cellulitis
Erysipelas

Diagnosis
Key Points
*Initial diagnosis is based on appearance of the affected area
*Various testing including cultures and stains of the affected area, may be performed
*Skin biopsy may be performed to confirm diagnosis and rule out other conditions

Erysipeloid is initially diagnosed based on the appearance of the affected area. Various tests including cultures and stains of the affected area may be performed along with skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions.

Treatment
*Cutaneous Erysipeloid typically resolves spontaneously within a few weeks
*Systemic Erysipeloid requires prompt treatment to prevent complications
*Treatment typically consists of oral antibiotics

Erysipeloid in its cutaneous forms typically resolves spontaneously within a few weeks, but treatment may quicken the healing process and prevent further involvement. Systemic Erysipeloid requires prompt treatment to prevent complications. Treatment of all forms of the condition typically consists of the administration of oral antibiotics, including Penicillin, Erythromycin, Rifampicin, Tetracycline and Ciprofloxacin.

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