What is Erysipeloid?
Erysipeloid is a bacterial infection caused by Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, usually seen on the fingers and hands of meat-handlers, fishermen, or veterinarians. The infection lasts for a few days and may resolve on its own.
How is it diagnosed?
History is usually of an occupation requiring handling of unprocessed meat or fish.
Symptoms include a reddish rash and swelling of the skin on the fingers or the back of the hand. The swelling may last for a few days.
Physical exam shows an expanding red rash with a clear center, typically on the fingers, hands, or forearms. Fever is occasionally present.
Tests: The bacterium can be cultured from the infected area.
How is Erysipeloid treated?
Antibiotic therapy for seven to ten days will usually clear the infection. In cases involving resistant strains, treatment with a second antibiotic may be required. Intravenous administration of antibiotic is used when endocarditis or arthritic symptoms are present.
What might complicate it?
Antibiotic-resistant strains will complicate therapy. Repeated infection may result in the development of allergic sensitivities. Pre-existing heart disease or reduced immunity may complicate the infection. The infection may develop into endocarditis or arthritis.
The prognosis for erysipeloid is excellent.
A number of infectious and non-infectious skin conditions may mimic erysipeloid.
Infectious disease specialist, dermatologist, and cardiologist.
Last updated 3 April 2018