By Gary M. White, MD
Erythrasma is a superficial infection of the flexures of the skin caused by the bacteria Corynebacterium minutissimum. Corynebacterium afermentans has also been reported [AD 1996;132;716]. The typical clinical finding is a red-brown non-scaly patch in a moist, intertriginous area, e.g. the groin. Wood's lamp shows a characteristic coral-pink fluorescence.
Some patients may be affected by the so called corynebacterial triad:
Tinea cruris is KOH positive. Erythrasma fluoresces a coral pink. If not either of those, it is probably intertrigo.
Erythromycin topically or orally is effective. Topical clindamycin is an alternative. A single gram dose of clarithromycin has been reported effective [AD 1998;134;671]. Some studies support the effectiveness of antimicrobial soaps against erythrasma and these can be recommended to prevent recurrences. Mupirocin 2% ointment bid is effective.
Erythrasma of the axilla with positive Wood's light fluorescence (coral pink).
Erythrasma of the groin with positive Wood's light fluorescence (coral pink).
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