Overview of Bacterial Skin Infections

ByWingfield E. Rehmus, MD, MPH, University of British Columbia
Reviewed/Revised Jun 2023
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Bacterial skin infections can be classified as skin and soft-tissue infections (SSTI) and acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI).

SSTI include  

ABSSSI are complex bacterial skin infections. They include

Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome, scarlet fever, and toxic shock syndrome are skin-related consequences of bacterial infections.

The primary pathogens in SSTI are Streptococcus and Staphylococcus species, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is a common pathogen in the United States. However, the proportion of cases attributed to MRSA differs substantially elsewhere in the world. Because MRSA can be resistant to multiple antibiotics, recommended antibiotics for bacterial skin and soft-tissue infections depend largely on local prevalence and resistance patterns of MRSA.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America's (IDSA) 2014 guidelines for the diagnosis and management of skin and soft-tissue infections

More Information

The following English-language resources may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of these resources.

  1. Infectious Diseases Society of America: Practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of skin and soft tissue infections (2014)

  2. World Society of Emergency Surgery (WSES) and the Surgical Infection Society Europe (SIS-E) consensus conference: Recommendations for the management of skin and soft-tissue infections (2018)

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