Recurrent Cellulitis: Risk Factors, Etiology, Pathogenesis and Treatment
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- Chlebicki, M.P. & Oh, C.C. Curr Infect Dis Rep (2014) 16: 422. doi:10.1007/s11908-014-0422-0
Erysipelas and uncomplicated cellulitis are common infections that tend to recur in a substantial proportion of affected patients following an initial episode, especially if the predisposing condition is chronic lymphedema. All patients who suffer an episode of cellulitis should be carefully evaluated to establish the risk of recurrence. Several predisposing conditions (such as lymphedema and skin conditions that serve as a portal of entry for bacteria) can be effectively treated in order to reduce the risk of relapse. The medical literature provides convincing evidence that antimicrobial prophylaxis can markedly reduce the frequency of relapse of erysipelas. Two recent studies performed by the ‘Prophylactic Antibiotics for the Treatment of Cellulitis at Home’ (PATCH) group have clearly confirmed the efficacy of antimicrobial prophylaxis. Penicillin remains the drug of choice. Treatment options in patients with penicillin allergy are limited by the rising prevalence of macrolide resistance among group A streptococci. Further research is required to clarify the optimal penicillin regimen as well as to develop new therapies for patients with allergy to penicillin.