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.

Quick GuideBacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments

Bacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments

What is impetigo? What causes impetigo?

Impetigo (pronounced im-puh-TIE-go) is a contagious, superficial infection of the skin caused by Staphylococcus (staph) and Streptococcus (strep) bacteria. Impetigo is more common in children (especially 2- to 5-year-olds) than in adults. Impetigo is most likely to occur in warm and humid environments and is most commonly spread by close contact (such as between family members). Many years ago the formal name for this disease was "impetigo contageosum."

A rarely used ecthyma is the term for a rash similar to impetigo, but the infection penetrates the skin more deeply. (Its therapy is similar to impetigo.)

Reviewed on 5/3/2017
References
REFERENCES:

Paller, A.S., and A.J. Mancini. Hurwitz Clinical Pediatric Dermatology, 3rd Edition. London: Elsevier, 2006: 366-367.

Tessaro, Mark Oliver. "Visual Diagnosis: A Boy with a Fever and a Swollen, Blistering Finger." Pediatrics in Review 37.5 May 2016.

IMAGES:

1.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.

2.iStock

3.Color Atlas of Pediatric Dermatology Samuel Weinberg, Neil S. Prose, Leonard Kristal Copyright 2008, 1998, 1990, 1975 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights reserved.

4.iStock

5.iStock

6.Getty Images/PhotoAlto

7.Getty Images/Hemera

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