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The etiology of nfections of the skin may be due to bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, Treponema, Mycobacteria, Rickettsia
Bacterial infections can be mild and localized (folliculitis, impetigo, pyodermas, erysipelas, cellulitis) or severe and extensive (necrotizing fasciitis). Topical or systemic antibiotics may be prescribed after proper cultures are taken and sensitivities of the bacteria are known.
Viral infections may be mild and localized (verruca, oral herpes, condyloma acuminata, molluscum contagiosum, zoster) or widespread (chickenpox, smallpox, rubella, roseola). Bacterial infections may be superimposed upon underlying viral infections.
Fungal infections may be superficial and localized (dermatophytes, tinea versicolor, candidiasis, onychomycosis) or widespread, severe and life threatening (histoplasmosis, blastomycosis).
When an infectious etiology is considered on the basis of the patient's clinical presentation that is further suspected by a careful, complete history, physical examination and review of indicated diagnostic studies (cultures, cytologic smears, serologies,Wood's light exam, etc.), treatment should be withheld until the precise etiology of the causative organism is determined if possible.
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