Infectious Diseases

sec_arr Bacterial Infections of the Skin

Superficial Skin Infections and Deep Skin Infections Usually Due to Streptococcus Pyogenes and Staphylococcus Aureus

General Description: Bacterial skin infections can present as crusty inflammation, swelling and pustules of the skin, abscesses with associated pain, occasionally fever, and general malaise. Community-associated methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) is a common cause of cellulitis and abscesses requiring surgical drainage.

Mode of Transmission: Person-to-person spread and contact with contaminated inanimate objects. The bacteria may colonize the nose, throat, skin, vagina, and rectum.

Efficiency of Transmission/Attack Rate: Outbreaks have been associated with contact with:
• carriers of the bacteria
• persons with poor hygiene
• minor trauma
• shared personal protective equipment
• gym mats and other athletic equipment
• towels

Healthy individuals may be carriers; clinical infection may occur with minor skin trauma, irritation due to friction, or secondary infection after initial fungal infection (e.g., jock itch, athlete’s foot, tinea corporis).

Period of Communicability: Antibiotic therapy will reduce communicability over days or weeks, depending on the nature of the infection.

Effect on LEO Fitness for Duty: LEOs with active lesions should be restricted from activities that might involve direct person-to-person contact of the lesion (e.g., defensive tactics, physical training) or exchanging equipment that might become contaminated (e.g., HAZMAT personal protective equipment). LEOs who are taking antibiotics for active infections may assume routine duties when they demonstrate clinical response to therapy, and if affected areas are properly covered with dressings and clothing. Colonization should not exclude LEOs from routine work assignments.

LEO-specific Clinical Studies and Reports: See Appendix A for disinfection protocols.