Colonization of β-hemolytic streptococci in patients with erysipelas—a prospective study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Erysipelas is a common skin infection causing significant morbidity. At present there are no established procedures for bacteriological sampling. Here we investigate the possibility of using cultures for diagnostic purposes by determining the perianal colonization with beta-hemolytic streptococci (BHS) in patients with erysipelas. Patients with erysipelas and a control group of patients with fever without signs of skin infection were prospectively included and cultures for BHS were taken from the tonsils, the perianal area, and wounds. BHS were grouped according to Lancefield antigen, species-determined, and emm-typed. Renewed cultures were taken after four weeks from patients with erysipelas and a positive culture for BHS. 25 patients with erysipelas and 25 with fever were included. In the group with erysipelas, 11 patients (44%) were colonized with BHS, ten patients were colonized in the perianal area, and one patient in the throat. In contrast, only one patient in the control group was colonized (p = 0.005 for difference). All of the patients with erysipelas colonized with BHS had an erythema located to the lower limb. The BHS were then subjected to MALDI-TOF MS and most commonly found to be Streptococcus dysgalactiae. Renewed cultures were taken from nine of the 11 patients with BHS and three of these were still colonized. Streptococcus dysgalactiae colonizes the perianal area in a substantial proportion of patients with erysipelas. The possibility of using cultures from this area as a diagnostic method in patients with erysipelas seems promising.


External organisations
  • Lund University
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infectious Medicine


  • Beta-hemolytic streptococci, Diagnosis, Erysipelas, Streptococcus dysgalactiae, Streptococcus pyogenes
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019 Jul 10
Publication categoryResearch