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by A. Damian Dhar, MD, JD

Erythrasma is an intertriginous infection with Corynebacterium minutissimum that is most common among patients with diabetes and among people living in the tropics.

Erythrasma resembles tinea or intertrigo. It is most common in the foot, where it manifests as superficial scaling, fissuring, and maceration most commonly confined to the 3rd and 4th web spaces. Erythrasma is also common in the groin, where it manifests as irregular but sharply marginated pink or brown patches with fine scaling. Erythrasma may also involve the axillae, submammary or abdominal folds, and perineum, particularly in obese middle-aged women and in patients with diabetes.

Erythrasma fluoresces a characteristic coral-red color under a Wood light. Absence of hyphae in skin scrapings also distinguishes erythrasma from tinea.

Treatment is erythromycin or tetracycline 250 mg po qid for 14 days. Topical erythromycin or clindamycin is also effective. Recurrence is common.

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