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Definition of Impetigo

  • Medical Author:
    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.

Impetigo: A skin infection caused by the staphylococcus or, less often, by the streptococcus bacterium. The first sign of impetigo is a patch of red, itchy skin. Pustules develop on this area, soon forming crusty, yellow-brown sores that can spread to cover entire areas of the face, arms, and other body parts. Most patients are children. Because impetigo is caused by a bacterium that is transmitted onto the skin, it is contagious and easily contracted by persons who might touch the affected person. Treatment involves the use of antibiotics.

Reviewed on 12/12/2018

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