By Gary M. White, MD

Erysipeloid is a cutaneous infection with the gram-positive bacillus Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, and is most commonly seen on the hand. It is typically an occupational dermatosis seen in persons working with livestock or involved in commercial fishing (fishmongers). It appears similar to erysipelas and thus the name, but it lacks the systemic symptoms or the aggressive nature. The bacteria may be found in fish, meat or soil. Fisherman, farmers, butchers or cooks are at highest risk.


The most classic clinical appearance is a red-purple plaque on the hands several days after contact with the organism.


Penicillin is effective and should work within 48 hours. Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae is sensitive to a number of other antibiotics, including quinolones, clindamycin, lincomycin, cephalosporins, imipenem, piperacillin, and erythromycin.


J Korean Med Sci. 2010 Aug;25(8):1234-6


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