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Other bacterial diseasesErysipeloid 

Other bacterial diseasesErysipeloid
Chapter:
Other bacterial diseasesErysipeloid
Author(s):

Robert M. Smith

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198570028.003.0025
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date: 26 February 2020

Erysipeloid is an acute bacterial infection usually causing acute localised cellulitis as a secondary infection of traumatised skin. It is caused by Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae (insidiosa), a non-sporulating Gram-positive rod-shaped bacterium, ubiquitous in the environment. It is the cause of swine erysipelas and also a pathogen or commensal in a variety of wild and domestic birds, animal and marine species. Human infection primarily associated with occupational exposure to infected or contaminated animals or handling animal products and therefore is commoner in farmers, butchers and abattoir workers and fisherman.

Risk factors for the rare human invasive E. rhusiopathiae infection include conditions that affect the host immune response, such as alcoholism, cancer and diabetes. Treatment is with penicillin.

Erysipelas can affect animals of all ages but is recognised more frequently in juveniles. Swine exhibit similar stages to the disease in man. Clinical manifestations in swine vary from the classical rhomboid urticaria (diamond skin), the condition of greatest prevalence and economic importance, to sepsis, polyarthritis, pneumonia and death.

Prevention is largely a matter of good hygiene, herd management and by raising awareness in those at risk (especially butchers, farmers and fishermen); ensuring that clinicians are aware of E. rhusiopathiae as a possible cause of occupational skin lesions and bacterial endocarditis is important.

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