cutaneous diphtheria


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cu·ta·ne·ous diph·the·ri·a

a "punched-out" shallow ulcer sometimes bordered or followed by a bulla, resulting from infection of the skin by Corynebacterium diphtheriae; systemic manifestations are the same as those of pharyngeal diphtheria.

cutaneous diphtheria

A skin infection, usually at the site of a wound, caused by C. diphtheriae, usually occurring in humid, tropical regions with poor sanitation. It is characterized by slow healing and shallow ulcers containing a tough grayish membrane. It is treated with diphtheria antitoxin and penicillin or erythromycin.
See also: diphtheria
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diphtheriae is frequent in tropical countries where cutaneous diphtheria is endemic; cutaneous carriage represents a common mode of transmission of the bacterium.
To our knowledge, these reports are the first of cutaneous diphtheria in gunshot wounds in recent years.
In 4 of 5 cutaneous diphtheria patients who had an available medical history, mixed infections with Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes were found; 3 of 5 patients were not sufficiently vaccinated against diphtheria as recommended.
We report four cases of cutaneous diphtheria that occurred in the United Kingdom during a 2-month period in 2002 and review past cases.