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    Ecthyma

    Ecthyma is a skin infection similar to impetigo. It is often called deep impetigo because it occurs deep inside the skin.

    Causes

    Ecthyma is most often caused by the Streptococcus bacteria. Sometimes, Staphylococcus bacteria causes this skin infection.

    The infection may start in skin that has been injured due to a scratch or insect bite.The infectionoften develops on the legs.

    Symptoms

    Main symptom of ecthyma is a small blister with a red border that may be filled with pus. The blister is similar to that seen with impetigo, but the infection spreads much deeper into the skin.

    After the blister goes away, a crusty ulcer appears.

    Exams and Tests

    Your doctor can usually diagnose this condition simply by looking at your skin. In rare cases, the fluid inside the blisteris sent to a lab for closer examination, or a skin biopsyneeds tobe done.

    Treatment

    Your doctor will usually prescribe antibiotics that you need to take by mouth (oral antibiotics). Very early cases may be treated with antibiotics that you apply to the affected area (topical antibiotics).Serious infectionsmay need antibiotics given through a vein (intravenous antibiotics).

    Placing a warm, wet cloth over the area can help remove ulcer crusts. Your doctor may recommend antiseptic soap or peroxide washes to speed recovery.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Unlike impetigo, ecthyma can sometimes result in scarring.

    Possible Complications

    • Spread of infection to other parts of the body
    • Permanent skin damage with scarring

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Make an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of ecthyma.

    Prevention

    Carefully clean the skin after an injury such as a bite or scratch.Do not scratch orpick at scabs and sores.

    References

    Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap 9.

    Pasternack MS, Swartz MN. Cellulitis, necrotizing fasciitis, and subcutaneous tissue infections. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Churchill-Livingstone; 2009:chap 90.

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    • Ecthyma

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    • Ecthyma gangrenosum

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      • Ecthyma

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      • Ecthyma gangrenosum

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      Review Date: 5/15/2013

      Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

      The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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      St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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