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January 1996

Arcanobacterium haemolyticum Pharyngitis and ExanthemThree Case Reports and Literature Review

Arch Dermatol. 1996;132(1):61-64. doi:10.1001/archderm.1996.03890250071012

Background:  Arcanobacterium haemolyticum is a bacterial pharyngeal pathogen that infects adolescents and young adults, frequently causing an exanthem that may mimic a viral exanthem, toxic erythema, or drug eruption. To our knowledge, the cutaneous manifestations of A haemolyticum infection have not previously been reported in the dermatologic literature.

Observations:  The severity of this infection can range from mild pharyngitis to a diphtheria-like illness and even septicemia. We report three cases that demonstrate the spectrum of manifestations of this disease, including an unusual case with acral distribution of the associated exanthem.

Conclusions:  Arcanobacterium haemolyticum infection should be considered in the differential diagnosis when evaluating a young adult with an exanthem. Antibiotic treatment is reliably efficacious, but the throat swab must be specifically cultured on 5% human blood agar in order to make the diagnosis.(Arch Dermatol. 1996;132:61-64)