Impetigo as a cause of sepsis in infants
Department of Paediatrics, Paediatric Nephrology and Allergology, Central Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of Defence, Military Medical Institute, Warsaw, Poland. Head of the Department: Bolesław Kalicki, MD, PhD
Correspondence: Agnieszka Lipińska-Opałka, Department of Paediatrics, Paediatric Nephrology and Allergology, Central Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of Defence, Military Medical Institute, Szaserów 128, 04-141 Warsaw, tel.: +48 22 681 72 36, fax: +48 22 681 67 63, e-mail: alipinska@wim.mil.pl
Pediatr Med Rodz 2015, 11 (2), p. 220–226
DOI: 10.15557/PiMR.2015.0021
ABSTRACT

Impetigo is a fairly common disease of the childhood. This infection exists in two distinct forms: bullous and non-bullous impetigo. In non-bullous impetigo, a tiny vesicle or pustule shows initially and after 4–6 days develops into a honey-coloured crusted plaque. Bullous impetigo is always caused by Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that produces exfoliative toxins (ETA and ETB). Infection is limited to the superficial layers of the skin, and skin changes typically occur on the face and limbs. The disease is most prevalent in children aged 2 to 5, but it can occur at any age. The treatment involves topical or systemic antibiotics depending on the severity of symptoms and the patient’s condition. The differential diagnosis of impetigo includes: staphylococcal scalded-skin syndrome, Herpes simplex infection, eosinophilic pustular folliculitis, epidermolysis bullosa, pemphigus and pemphigoid. The differentiation between impetigo and staphylococcal scalded-skin syndrome can be challenging. Both diseases are caused by the same strain of Staphylococcus aureus that produces exfoliative toxins. However, in impetigo toxins are produced only within skin lesions whereas in staphylococcal scalded-skin syndrome, toxins are produced in organs colonised by Staphylococcus aureus and then released systemically. In the course of staphylococcal scalded-skin syndrome severe tenderness of the skin and a positive Nikolsky’s sign are observed. The paper presents two cases of impetigo in infants. In both cases, the correct diagnosis was not established immediately, which delayed appropriate treatment. In one of the cases, due to the imprecise initial diagnosis and the lack of the holistic approach to the patient, a correct diagnosis was established so late, that a systemic infection developed.

Keywords: impetigo, skin infections, sepsis, infants