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August 1, 1980

Tetracycline for Seal Finger

JAMA. 1980;244(5):437. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310050015010

To the Editor.—  Seal finger is to some people a common disease; however, as the following case illustrates, knowledge of this entity is widely lacking in the general medical community. Recognition of this potentially serious problem should be more widespread.

Report of a Case.—  A 27-year-old male graduate student stabbed his left palm with a knife while performing a necropsy on a sea lion, two days before being seen as an outpatient. At that time (April 4, 1979), erythema of 3 cm diameter around the 0.4-cm puncture wound was seen. After consultation, therapy with dicloxacillin, 500 mg four times a day, and hot soaks was instituted. Five days later there was some slight increased tenderness around the wound. Two days later there was increased swelling, erythema, and pain. Consultation with another specialist yielded a recommendation for treatment with cephalexin monohydrate, 1 g by mouth four times a day with discontinuation of