Impetigo

  • Medical Author:
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Is Impetigo Contagious?

Impetigo is a highly contagious disease. Impetigo is easily spread from person to person by direct contact with the lesions and/or indirectly by touching items (clothing, sheets, or toys) that have been used by individuals with this skin disease. Indirect transmission is less frequent than direct person-to-person transmission. Bacteria cause impetigo; group A streptococci and staphylococci are the organisms that most frequently cause impetigo.

Picture of Impetigo

Quick GuideBacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments

Bacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments

Impetigo facts

  • Impetigo is a bacterial infection of the surface of the skin.
  • Impetigo is more common in children than in adults.
  • The two types of impetigo are nonbullous and bullous impetigo.
  • Impetigo symptoms and signs include
    • small blisters,
    • dark or honey-colored crust that forms after the pustules burst.
  • Impetigo is contagious and is caused by strains of both staph and strep bacteria.
  • Impetigo is not serious and is easy to treat with either prescription topical or oral antibiotics. Scarring is very rare.
Reviewed on 2/22/2016
References
REFERENCES:

American Academy of Pediatrics. In: Pickering, L.K., C.J. Baker, D.W. Kimberlin, S.S. Long, eds. Red Book: 2012 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012.

Baddour, Larry M. "Impetigo." UptoDate.com. Sept. 2010.

IMAGES:

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9.Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology Klaus Wolff, Richard Allen Johnson, Dick Suurmond Copyright 2005, 2001, 1997, 1993 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights reserved.

10.iStock

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