Erysipelas Definition Pictures - 54 Photos & Images
Erysipelas is an infection of the upper layers of the skin (superficial). The most common cause is group A streptococcal bacteria, especially Streptococcus pyogenes. Erysipelas results in a fiery red rash with raised edges that can easily be distinguished from the skin around it. The affected skin may be warm to the touch. At one time, erysipelas was thought to affect mostly the face, but recent studies suggest that the distribution of the inflammation is changing since at the present time the legs are involved in almost 80% of cases. The rash may also appear on the arms or trunk. Erysipelas begins with minor trauma, such as a bruise, burn, wound, or incision. When the rash appears on the trunk, arms, or legs, it is usually at the site of a surgical incision or a wound.
Erysipelas usually first appears as a localized lesion that is tender and red. The lesion quickly develops a bright red, shiny color and a spreading, raised border. The typical lesion is so characteristic that its presence is diagnostic. The lesion may feel hot and be painful. There may be accompanying high fever, chills, headache, nausea, and a general feeling of ill health (malaise). The skin in the affected area may resemble the peel of an orange. In infants, erysipelas may appear on the abdomen due to infection of the umbilical cord. In children and adults, erysipelas most commonly develops on the legs, arms and face. Erysipelas may also develop at sites of minor surgery or trauma, or it may be due to lymphatic obstruction.
Erysipelas is caused by one of several strains of streptococcus bacteria, or less frequently by a staphylococcus infection. Streptococci are involved in about 80% of cases.