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Impetigo is a bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus andor Staphylococcus organisms Both staphylococcus and streptococcus are part of the normal flora found on human skin but given the opportunity they can become pathogenic Streptococcus is a spherical bacterium that is arranged into chains It is Gram positive and catalase negative Group A Streptococcus GAS such as Streptococcus pyogenes are responsible for most cases of streptococcal infections The letter A is part of a classification system that separates streptococcal organisms according to the composition of the cell wall Other illnesses associated with GAS are strep throat necrotizing fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome 49 Staphylococcus is arranged into clusters of spherical bacteria They are Gram positive and catalase positive Staphylococcus bacteria are classified into two major groups aureus and non-aureus Staphylococcus aureus is another organism that causes impetigo It is distinguished from other species by a positive result in a coagulase test Staphylococcus aureus is also associated with soft tissue infection as well as toxic shock syndrome and has been found to be the causative agent in pneumonia boils arthritis meningitis and osteomyelitis The pathogenic abilities of Staphylococcus are most commonly associated with the toxins it produces in the stationary phase of the bacterial growth curve 2 Impetigo involves an infection of the superficial top layers of the skin It is characterized by the development of red blisters that start to rupture and ooze fluid A yellowish or honey colored crust then develops It usually effects the face hands arms and legs but may spread to other areas by scratching Occasionally a person will become ill experiencing symptoms like headache muscle aches fever nausea and fatigue In rare cases the infection may spread and cause post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis kidney failure A diagnosis will primarily be based on the appearance of the lesions on the skin but a culture can be taken from active lesions to test for the presence of streptococcus or staphylococcus 67 The
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