This is a bacterial infection of the skin caused by Corynebacterium minutissimum. This bacteria normally resides in the skin growing in the intertriginous areas. The appearance is usually a red-brown noninflammatory patch, located in the axilla, groin, or between the toes. Examination with a Wood's Lamp, which shines ultraviolet light, reveals a red-coral fluorescence.
Epidemiology Disease Associations Pathogenesis Laboratory/Radiologic/
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EPIDEMIOLOGY CHARACTERIZATION SYNONYMS INCIDENCE/
AGE SEX GEOGRAPHY EPIDEMIOLOGIC ASSOCIATIONS
- Tinea pedis and erythrasma in Danish recruits. Clinical signs, prevalence, incidence, and correlation to atopy.
Svejgaard E, Christophersen J, Jelsdorf HM.
J Am Acad Dermatol. 1986 Jun;14(6):993-9. Abstract quote
Prior to military service, 665 recruits were examined clinically and microbiologically for tinea pedis and erythrasma and 546 of these were reexamined at the end of military service. The prevalence of clinical signs, erythrasma, and dermatophyte infection at the first investigation was 58.8%, 51.3%, and 6.2%, respectively, and at the second investigation, 81.1%, 77.1%, and 7.0%, respectively. The incidence of tinea pedis was 4.2% during the 9 months of military service.
Of those infected at the first visit 41% had persistent infection mainly due to Trichophyton rubrum, whereas new infections were largely caused by Trichophyton mentagrophytes. Some of those persistently infected had signs of chronicity at the follow-up visit, indicating that chronic dermatophytosis may become established in the early twenties.
The prevalence of atopy was 15.0% in all the recruits but was almost 50% in those with persistent tinea pedis.
DISEASE ASSOCIATIONS CHARACTERIZATION
CHARACTERIZATION RADIOLOGIC LABORATORY MARKERS FLUORESCENCE (WOOD'S LAMP)
- Nonfluorescent erythrasma of the vulva.
Mattox TF, Rutgers J, Yoshimori RN, Bhatia NN.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harbor/UCLA Medical Center, UCLA School of Medicine.
Obstet Gynecol. 1993 May;81(5 ( Pt 2)):862-4. Abstract quote
BACKGROUND: Erythrasma is an uncommon vulvar infection, best diagnosed by its fluorescence under the Wood lamp. This report shows that despite a negative Wood lamp examination, the diagnosis can be made histologically.
CASE: A 42-year-old woman was referred to our clinic with a persistent candidal infection. Evaluation included a Wood lamp examination, wet mount, and potassium hydroxide test of the affected skin, all of which were negative. A biopsy of the area demonstrated rods and filamentous organisms in the keratotic layer consistent with a Corynebacterium minutissimum infection. The patient was diagnosed as having erythrasma, and she responded to oral erythromycin.
CONCLUSION: Persistent vulvar diseases may be caused by erythrasma despite a negative Wood lamp examination. The diagnosis can be made by biopsy of the lesion.
CHARACTERIZATION GENERAL VARIANTS
HISTOLOGICAL TYPES CHARACTERIZATION General-SKIN A Gram, PAS, or Giemsa stain reveals numerous rods and filaments within the stratum corneum VARIANTS
CHARACTERIZATION SPECIAL STAINS Gram or PAS stains IMMUNOPEROXIDASE ELECTRON MICROSCOPY
DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS KEY DIFFERENTIATING FEATURES PITYRIASIS ROTUNDA
- Pityriasis rotunda mimicking tinea cruris/corporis and erythrasma in an Indian patient.
Department of Dermatology, Venerology & Leprology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.
J Dermatol. 2001 Jan;28(1):50-3 Abstract quote.
Pityriasis rotunda is a rare disease characterized by perfectly round to oval, sharply defined, scaly, hypo/hyperpigmented patches of variable number and size located mainly over the trunk and proximal extremities. More than 95% of the reported cases in medical literature are from three countries/ethnic populations, namely Japan, South Africa (Bantu), and Italy (Sardinian islanders).
To the best of my knowledge, no patient with the characteristic clinico-pathologic features has been reported from the Indian subcontinent. I report a 44-year-old man with eighteen pityriasis rotunda patches, persistent for nearly 20 years. The lesions in the groin and axillae closely resembled erythrasma and tinea, and he had received treatment for these conditions several times in the past.
Histopathology of the skin biopsy showed thinning of the epidermis with a thinned-out granular layer and a sparse lymphomononuclear infiltrate in the dermis. A review of literature suggests that there are two subsets of the disease. The type I subset is comprised of pityriasis rotunda associated with systemic illness and is seen in Black or Oriental patients with no family history of the disease.
The lesions tend to subside on treatment of the underlying illness. The type II subset patients are Caucasians as well as Blacks and Orientals with no underlying systemic illness. Familial occurrence is possible; lesions tend to be persistent and unresponsive to therapy.
- Pityriasis versicolor on the groin mimicking erythrasma.
Aste N, Pau M, Aste N.
Department of Dermatology, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.
Mycoses. 2004 Jun;47(5-6):249-51. Abstract quote
Pityriasis versicolor (PV) is a widespread dermatomycosis caused by yeasts. Erythrasma is a superficial bacterial skin disease affecting the major folds of the body, particularly the groin.
We report the case of a 45-year-old man, affected by PV, exclusively localized in the inguinal folds and in the inner surface of the thighs, characterized by lesions clinically reproducing erythrasma.
The authors underline the possibility that PV mimics erythrasma and vice versa, especially in those countries in which both diseases are quite common, and stress the importance of performing a simple mycological examination to avoid gross diagnostic and therapeutic errors.
TREATMENT CHARACTERIZATION GENERAL
- Management of cutaneous erythrasma.
Department of Internal Medicine, Lakeside Hospital, Metairie, Louisiana 70001, USA.
Drugs. 2002;62(8):1131-41. Abstract quote
Corynebacterium minutissimum is the bacteria that leads to cutaneous eruptions of erythrasma and is the most common cause of interdigital foot infections. It is found mostly in occluded intertriginous areas such as the axillae, inframammary areas, interspaces of the toes, intergluteal and crural folds, and is more common in individuals with diabetes mellitus than other clinical patients. This organism can be isolated from a cutaneous site along with a concurrent dermatophyte or Candida albicans infection.
The differential diagnosis of erythrasma includes psoriasis, dermatophytosis, candidiasis and intertrigo, and methods for differentiating include Wood's light examination and bacterial and mycological cultures. Erythromycin 250mg four times daily for 14 days is the treatment of choice and other antibacterials include tetracycline and chloramphenicol; however, the use of chloramphenicol is limited by bone marrow suppression potentially leading to neutropenia, agranulocytosis and aplastic anaemia. Further studies are needed but clarithromycin may be an additional drug for use in the future.
Where there is therapeutic failure or intertriginous involvement, topical solutions such as clindamycin, Whitfield's ointment, sodium fusidate ointment and antibacterial soaps may be required for both treatment and prophylaxis. Limited studies on the efficacy of these medications exist, however, systemic erythromycin demonstrates cure rates as high as 100%. Compared with tetracyclines, systemic erythromycin has greater efficacy in patients with involvement of the axillae and groin, and similar efficacy for interdigital infections. Whitfield's ointment has equal efficacy to systemic erythromycin in the axillae and groin, but shows greater efficacy in the interdigital areas and is comparable with 2% sodium fusidate ointment for treatment of all areas. Adverse drug effects and potential drug interactions need to be considered.
No cost-effectiveness data are available but there are limited data on cost-related treatment issues. A guideline is proposed for the detection, evaluation, treatment and prophylaxis of this cutaneous eruption.
J Am Acad Dermatol 1986;14:993-999.
Henry JB. Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. Twentieth Edition. WB Saunders. 2001.
Rosai J. Ackerman's Surgical Pathology. Ninth Edition. Mosby 2004.
Sternberg S. Diagnostic Surgical Pathology. Fourth Edition. Lipincott Williams and Wilkins 2004.
Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease. Seventh Edition. WB Saunders 2005.
DeMay RM. The Art and Science of Cytopathology. Volume 1 and 2. ASCP Press. 1996.
Weedon D. Weedon's Skin Pathology Second Edition. Churchill Livingstone. 2002
Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 5th Edition. McGraw-Hill. 1999.
Weiss SW and Goldblum JR. Enzinger and Weiss's Soft Tissue Tumors. Fourth Edition. Mosby 2001.
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