Definition. An inflammatory affection of the skin, resembling erysipelas, produced by infection with putrid or spoiled animal matter.
Symptoms. This condition was first named by Rosenbach and, as a rule, presents no marked constitutional symptoms. It is believed to be due to the inoculation of some slight wound with decayed animal matter and occurs chiefly on the fingers of cooks, fish dealers, butchers, or those habitually handling the flesh of animals. It beings at the point of poisoning as a dark red or livid papulae and spreads as a sharply defined erythema which, clearing in the center, may assume a circular or festooned shape. It may creep over the surface in one or more directions; is attended throughout its course with pronounced itching or burning sensations; and ceases spontaneously in from one to five weeks. Spreading is much slower and less extensive than in erysipelas. The feet and hands are the common seats of the eruption, though rarely it extends beyond. There is little or no desquamation.
Etiology and Pathology. The infection gains entrance through a wound. While Rosenbach regarded a microorganism of the order cladothrix, existing in putrid flesh or cheese, as the causal factor, Gilchrist and others fail to confirm this finding. In fact, Gilchrist states that nearly all this cases were due to crab- bites.
Diagnosis. The lack of constitutional symptoms will differentiate erysipeloid from erysipelas. Dermatitis repens and erythema multiforme may need to be considered.
Prognosis and Treatment. This disease is rapidly responsive to mild antiseptic treatment. The application of a weak solution of formalin, potassium permanganate, salicylic acid or ichthyol, or a 10 per cent. ointment of ichthyol, resorcin or ammoniated mercury will suffice. Apis and Arnica have been used internally with good results.