The cutaneous disease that Rosenbach in 1884 designated erysipeloid is now known to be an infection caused by Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, the organism of swine erysipelas. Erysipeloid occurring at the site of injury, usually the hand, in abattoir workers, fish handlers and retail butchers, is a common occupational disease. Erysipeloid resulting in blood stream infection and death is rare.
The case reported here concerns a butcher who cut his finger while working. Although we did not see him at that time, evidence suggests that a severe form of erysipeloid resulted from this injury. Blood stream infection with Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae ensued, from which he died six months after the injury. The organism was recovered from antemortem blood culture. Symptoms of the septicemic form of the infection in man are not described in medical textbooks. The clinical picture is somewhat comparable to the infection in swine, which is well known to veterinarians.
KLAUDER JV, KRAMER DW, NICHOLAS L, Kast C, Groskin L. ERYSIPELOTHRIX RHUSIOPATHIAE SEPTICEMIA: DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT: REPORT OF FATAL CASE OF ERYSIPELOID. JAMA. 1943;122(14):938–943. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840310030008
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