Loading…
skip to main content
Group A Streptococcal Infections – Cellulitis and Erysipelas

Group A streptococcal infections are caused by group A streptococcus, a bacterium responsible for a variety of health problems. These infections can range from mild skin infection or sore throat to invasive, life-threatening conditions such as toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing fasciitis. Most people are familiar with strep throat, which along with minor skin infection, is the most common form of the disease. Experts estimate that more than 10 million mild infections like these occur every year.

In addition to step throat and superficial skin infections, group A strep bacteria can cause infections in tissues at specific body sites, including lungs, bones, spinal cord, and the abdominal cavity.

What are cellulitis and erysipelas?
Cellulitis is inflammation of the skin and deep underlying tissues. Erysipelas is an inflammatory disease of the upper layers of the skin. Group A streptococcus is the most common cause of both conditions.

What are the symptoms of cellulitis and erysipelas?
Cellulitis is inflammation of the skin and deep underlying tissues. Erysipelas is an inflammatory disease of the upper layers of the skin. Group A streptococcus is the most common cause of both conditions.

With erysipelas, a fiery red rash with raised borders may occur on the face, arms, or legs. Skin will be hot, red, and have sharply defined raised areas. The infection may come back, causing chronic swelling of arms or legs (lymphedema).

How does a person get cellulitis or erysipelas?
Both cellulitis and erysipelas begin with minor trauma, such as a bruise. It can also begin at the site of a burn, surgical incision, or wound, and usually affects an arm or leg. When the rash appears on the trunk, arms, or legs, however, it is usually at the site of a surgical incision or wound. People who have no symptoms, but carry the germ on their skin or in their nasal passages, can transmit the disease.

How are these skin infections diagnosed and what is the treatment?
The doctor may take a sample or culture from skin lesions to identify the bacteria causing infection. He or she may also recover the bacteria from the infected person's blood. Depending on how severe the infection is, treatment involves either oral or intravenous antibiotics.

Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
August 2000.



Medical/Legal Disclaimer

MON19

Last Updated: Jun 3rd, 2009

Keywords

Nucleus Medical Media Disclaimer of Medical and Legal Liability

Nucleus Medical Media ("Nucleus") does not dispense medical or legal advice, and the text, illustrations, photographs, animations and other information ("Content") available on this web site is for general information purposes only. As with any medical or legal issue, it is up to you to consult a physician or attorney for professional advice. YOU SHOULD NOT DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL OR LEGAL ADVICE BASED ON CONTENT CONTAINED ON THIS WEB SITE, NOR SHOULD YOU RELY ON THE CONTENT ON THIS WEB SITE IN PLACE OF PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL OR LEGAL ADVICE.

NUCLEUS DISCLAIMS ALL RESPONSIBILITY AND LIABILITY FOR ANY COUNSEL, ADVICE, TREATMENT, DIAGNOSIS OR ANY MEDICAL, LEGAL OR OTHER INFORMATION, SERVICES OR PRODUCTS THAT YOU OBTAIN BASED ON VIEWING THE CONTENT OF THIS SITE. THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEB SITE SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED COMPLETE OR SUITABLE FOR ANY PURPOSE WHATSOEVER.

Mature Content Disclaimer: Certain Content on this web site contains graphic depictions or descriptions of medical information, which may be offensive to some viewers. Nucleus, its licensors, and its suppliers disclaim all responsibility for such materials.

close