Erysipeloid is an occupational infection of the skin caused by traumatic penetration of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae. The disease is characterized clinically by an erythematous oedema, with well-defined and raised borders, usually localized to the back of one hand and/or fingers. Vesicular, bullous and erosive lesions may also be present. The lesion may be asymptomatic or accompanied by mild pruritus, pain and fever. In addition to cutaneous infection, E. rhusiopathiae can cause endocarditis, which may be acute or subacute. Endocarditis is rare and has a male predilection. It usually occurs in previously damaged valves, predominantly the aortic valve. Endocarditis does not occur in patients with valvular prostheses and is not associated with intravenous drug misuse. Diagnosis of localized erysipeloid is based on the patient's history (occupation, previous traumatic contact with infected animals or their meat) and clinical picture (typical skin lesions, lack of severe systemic features, slight laboratory abnormalities and rapid remission after treatment with penicillin or cephalosporin).
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