ERYSIPELAS, is a skin infection caused by Streptococcus bacteria. Although any part of the body may be affected, the usual sites of infection are the face, legs, sealp, and, in in-fants, the abdomen. The involved area appears bright red and slightly swollen and is characteristically sharply demarcated from the surrounding skin. The area also feels hot and uncomfortable. The infection is accompanied by fever and often by headache and vomiting.
Even though the infection usually subsides in several weeks without treatment, it tends to recur and may be complicated by nephritis, subcutaneous abscesses, and even blood poisoning (septicemia). Also, a patient may transmit the bacteria to other individuals in whom it may produce other streptococcal infections, including tonsillitis and scarlet fever.
Until the advent of antibiotics, erysipelas was a serious infection that occasionally proved fatal. It was popularly called St. Anthony’s fire because it was believed that it could be cured through the intercession of St. Anthony.