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Erythrasma


Definition:

Erythrasma is a long-term skin infection caused by bacteria. It commonly occurs in skin folds. 

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Erythrasma is caused by the bacteria Corynebacterium minutissimum.

Erythrasma is more common in warm climates. You are more likely to develop this condition if you are overweight or have diabetes.

Symptoms:

The main symptoms are reddish-brown slightly scaly patches with sharp borders. They may itch slightly. The patches occur in moist areas such as the groin, armpit, and skin folds. The patches often look similar to other fungal infections, such as ringworm.

Signs and tests:
Treatment:

Gently scrubbing the skin patches with antibacterial soap may help them go away. Your doctor may prescribe erythromycin gel that you put on the skin. If the condition is very bad, you may need to take this medicine in pill form. 

Expectations (prognosis):

The condition should go away after treatment. 

Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of erythrasma.

Prevention:

You may be able to reduce the risk of erythrasma if you:

  • Bathe or shower often
  • Keep your skin dry
  • Wear clean cloths that absorb moisture
  • Avoid very hot or damp conditions
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
References:

Habif TP. Superficial and fungal infections. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 13.

Millett CR, Hapern AV, Reboli AC, et al. Bacterial Diseases. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds.Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 74.



 


Review Date: 11/20/2012
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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