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Viral Skin Infections A skin infection is an infection of the skin. It can result in skin inflammation. Skin inflammation due to skin infection is called infective dermatitis. There are different types of skin infections. Leprosy Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria ‘Mycobacterium leprae’. It causes damage to the skin and the peripheral nervous system. The disease develops slowly and results in skin lesions and deformities which can be very disfiguring. Although human-to-human transmission is the primary source of infection, there are other species that can carry and transfer these bacteria to humans. The mycobacterium leprae is an intracellular bacterium, it takes long time to reproduce inside cells and grow best at 80 F to 86 F. Hence, it often affects cooler places of the body. People living in the areas where leprosy is endemic and especially people who are in constant physical contact with infected people are at high risk. Also people who handle certain animals that are known to carry the bacteria are at greater risk of getting the bacteria from the animals.

Symptoms of impetigo It usually takes long time (3 to 4 years) for symptoms to appear after making contact with the leprosy causing bacteria. The main symptom is disfiguring skin sores, lumps, or bumps that do not go away after several weeks or months. The skin sores are pale-coloured. Nerve damage can lead to loss of feeling in the arms and legs and muscle weakness. Impetigo Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection that mainly affects children. It causes red sores that can break open, ooze fluid, and develop a yellow brown crust. These sores can occur anywhere on the body, mainly around the mouth and nose. Impetigo is contagious and can be spread to others through close contact or by sharing towels, sheets, clothing, toys, or other items.


Impetigo is caused by one of two kinds of bacteria streptococcus or staph. Children may get impetigo after having cold or allergies that have made the skin under the nose raw.

Symptoms of impetigo The sores begin as small red spots, and then change to blisters that break open. The sores are generally not painful, but they may be itchy. They ooze fluid and look crusty and gradually increase in size and number.

Boils A boil is a skin infection that starts in a hair follicle or oil gland. At first, the skin turns red in the area of the infection, and a tender lump develops. After four to seven days, the lump starts turning white as pus collects under the skin. The most common places for boils to appear are on the face, neck, armpits, shoulders, and buttocks. Most boils are caused by a germ which enters the body through tiny nicks or cuts in the skin or can travel down the hair to the follicle.

Symptoms of Boils A boil starts as a hard, red, painful lump usually about half an inch in size. Over the next few days, the lump becomes softer, larger, and more painful. Then pus forms on the top of the boil. The skin around the boil becomes infected. It turns red, painful, warm, and swollen. More boils may appear around the original one. A fever may develop. Lymph nodes may become swollen.


Carbuncles A carbuncle is a red, swollen, and painful cluster of boils that are connected to each other under the skin. It is a collection of pus under the skin. It is caused by ‘Staphylococcus aureus’. A carbuncle is most likely to occur on a hairy area of the body such as the back or nape of the neck. It also can develop in other areas of the body such as the buttocks, thighs, groin, and armpits. These bacteria can cause infection by entering the skin through a hair follicle, small scrape or puncture. The infection can spread to other parts of the person's body or to other people through skin-to-skin contact or the sharing of personal items. Risk factors for carbuncles include chronic skin conditions which damage the skin's protective barrier, diabetes, Kidney disease, Liver disease and any condition that weakens the immune system People of any age can develop carbuncles from irritations or abrasions to the skin surface caused by tight clothing, shaving, or insect bites, especially in body areas with heavy perspiration.

Symptoms of Carbuncles The boils that collect to form carbuncles usually start as red, painful bumps. The carbuncle fills with pus and develops white or yellow tips that weep, ooze, or crust. Over a period of several days, many untreated carbuncles rupture, discharging a creamy white or pink fluid. Other carbuncle symptoms include fever, fatigue, and a feeling of general sickness. Swelling may occur in nearby tissue and lymph nodes, especially lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin.

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Viral skin infections  

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