How is cutaneous diphtheria characterized?

Updated: Jan 18, 2019
  • Author: Bruce M Lo, MD, MBA, CPE, RDMS, FACEP, FAAEM, FACHE; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Cutaneous diphtheria is a disease characterized by indolent, nonhealing ulcers covered with a gray membrane. The ulcers are often co-infected with Staphylococcus aureus and group A streptococci. This form of the disease is seen with increasing frequency in poor inner-city dwellers and alcoholics. The lesions of cutaneous diphtheria are infectious, and bacteria from cutaneous lesions have been found to cause pharyngeal infections and thus serve as a reservoir for infection.

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