Skin and soft tissue infection

S Sharma, K K Verma
Indian Journal of Pediatrics 2001, 68 Suppl 3: S46-50
Abstract. Normal skin is heavily colonized by bacterial flora. The most common are the various nonpathogenic gram-positive bacteria such as Staphylococcus epidermidis (coagulase-negative). Skin and soft tissue infections are usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Streptococcus pyogenes. This article discusses common and some not so common bacterial skin infections, including impetigo, folliculitis, furncles and carbuncles, cellulitis and erysipelas, gangrenous cellulitis, staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome and scarlet fever. Impetigo and ecthyma are common bacterial infections of the skin commonly caused by S. aureus and / or Group A streptoccus. In mild and localized impetigo topical antibiotics whereas in widespread or severe one and in ecthyma systemic antibiotics like, cloxacillin, erythromycin, azithromycin or cephalexin should be used. Folliculitis, furunculosis and carbuncle are folliculocentric infections caused by S. aureus involving the variable depth and extent of the follicle(s) and surrounding tissue. These conditions can be treated with topical or systemic antibiotics like cloxacillin, cephalexin, erythromycin, amoxicillin/clavulanic acid or vancomycin. Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome is a toxin mediated exfoliative dermatosis caused by S. aureus of phase group II. Intravenous penicillinase-resistant anti-staphylococcal antibiotics like methicillin, cloxacillin, cephalosporin or erythromycin are required. Erysipelas and cellulitis are acute infections of dermal and subcutaneous tissues caused most frequently by Group A beta-hemolytic streptococci (erysipelas) or S. aureus requiring systemic antibiotics like oral or intravenous penicillin, erythromycin, cephalexin, cloxacillin, vacomycin, minocycline or ciprofloxacin depending upon the severity, suspected causative organism and culture/sensitivity results. Gangrenous cellulitis is characterized by infection with necrosis of skin and underlying subcutaneous tissue due to various pathogens occurring at different site. Ampicillin, gentamicin, and either metronidazole or clindamycin intravenously in standard doses are recommended for the treatment.

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