Erysipelas natural history, complications and prognosis
Erysipelas natural history, complications and prognosis On the Web
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Erysipelas onset begins shortly after streptococcal infection, with initial symptoms of localized lesions with erythema and edema. Progression from the initial location is rapid, with raised and sharply demarcated boundaries from surrounding unaffected tissue. Systemic symptoms, including fever, chills, and vomiting may occur as the inflammation persists and spreads. Complications of erysipelas occur if the infectious pathogen is not treated and it spreads below the dermis and into the bloodstream, brain, bones, kidneys, and other subcutaneous tissue. Without treatment, the prognosis of erysipelas varies based on the presence of complications. Spread of infection below the dermis can result in hospitalization and can even be life-threatening. With treatment, the prognosis of erysipelas is good; Penicillin has been shown to effectively relieve symptoms and halt progression of the disease.
- An initial lesion forms with localized erythema and edema
- Progression from the initial location is rapid, with raised and sharply demarcated boundaries from surrounding unaffected tissue
- Untreated, the lesions will spread, while the initial manifestation resolves
- Systemic symptoms, including fever, chills, and vomiting may occur as inflammation persists and spreads
If left untreated, erysipelas will not usually be self-resolved and can lead to life-threatening complications.
Complications of erysipelas occur if the infectious pathogen is not treated, including the following:
- Increased severity of lesions, including haemorrhagic, bullous, abscessing, and necrotic (necrotizing fasciitis)
- Osteoarticular complications, including bursitis, osteitis, tendinitis, and arthritis
- Bacteremia, resulting from spread of infection from the epidermis to the bloodstream
- Septic shock
- Chronic, recurrent erysipelas due to increased susceptibility from damaged cutaneous lymph vessels
- Meningitis (if the infection is localized in the face and spreads below the dermis and into the brain and spinal cord)
- Acute glomerulonephritis
- Lymphatic damage and lymphedema
- Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome
Without treatment, the prognosis of erysipelas varies based on the presence of complications.
- Spread of infection below the dermis can result in hospitalization and can even be life-threatening.
With treatment, the prognosis of erysipelas is good.
- Penicillin has been shown to effectively relieve symptoms and halt the progression of the disease.
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