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impetigo(ĭmpətī`gō), contagious skin infection affecting mainly infants and children. The causative organisms are either hemolytic streptococcistreptococcus
, any of a group of gram-positive bacteria, genus Streptococcus, some of which cause disease. Streptococci are spherical and divide by fission, but they remain attached and so grow in beadlike chains.
..... Click the link for more information. or staphylococcistaphylococcus
, any of the pathogenic bacteria, parasitic to humans, that belong to the genus Staphylococcus. The spherical bacterial cells (cocci) typically occur in irregular clusters [Gr. staphyle=bunch of grapes].
..... Click the link for more information. . The eruption consists of small red spots or blisters that rupture, discharge, and become encrusted. The infection is easily spread over the skin by fingernails because of its symptomatic itching; it can also be spread by contaminated linen, clothing, or other objects. Effective treatment with antibiotic ointments usually relieves the infection within 10 days. Systemic treatment with antibiotics is sometimes necessary to prevent the nephritis that occasionally develops.
an infectious skin disease caused by streptococci and staphylococci.
Impetigo is most often observed in children, sometimes in epidemic outbreaks at children’s institutions. It is manifested by pustular rashes. The nature of herpetiform impetigo, a special form of the disease with a herpes-like rash, has not been elucidated. Endocrine, toxic, and nervous origin have been conjectured. It appears most often in pregnant women (disappearing with the termination of pregnancy).