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Complicated skin, skin structure and soft tissue infections - are we threatened by multi-resistant pathogens?

P Kujath1* and C Kujath2

Author Affiliations

1 University of Schleswig-Holstein, Lübeck Campus, Department of Surgery (Head of department: Prof. Dr. med. H.-P. Bruch), Lübeck, Germany

2 University of Greifswald, Department of Pediatric Surgery (Clinical director: Prof. Dr. med. W. Barthlen), Greifswald, Germany

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European Journal of Medical Research 2010, 15:544-553  doi:10.1186/2047-783X-15-12-544

Published: 30 November 2010


Tissue infections or skin, skin structure, and deep seated soft tissue infections are general terms for infections of the entire skin layer including the subcutaneous and muscle tissue layers and their respective fascia structures. Infections of the different mediastinal fascias (mediastinitis) and retroperitoneal fascia infections also belong to this category. Due to the variability of their clinical presentation, skin and soft tissue infections can be classified according to different features. The following aspects can be used for classification:

- anatomical structures

- pathogens

- necessity for urgent treatment

- extent of infection

The incidence of skin and soft tissue infections in which MRSA (methicillin-resistent Staphylococcus aureus) is involved has been steadily increasing over the past 15 years. These wounds should be treated according to the same open treatment principles as other infected wounds. Since these infections are often superficial contaminations, antibiotic therapy is not indicated. If systemic infection occurs in form of MRSA sepsis, antibiotic therapy is indicated.

Several recent reports identified MRSA as the leading pathogen in SSTIs. It also causes 20% to 50% of diabetes-associated foot infections in several countries and is associated with worse outcomes than other pathogens.