Skin infection - staphylococcal; Infection - skin - staph; Staph skin infection; Carbunculosis
A carbuncle is a skin infection that often involves a group of hair follicles. The infected material forms a lump, which occurs deep in the skin and may contain pus.
When you have more than one carbuncle, the condition is called carbunculosis.
See also: Skin lesion
Most carbuncles are caused by the bacteria staphylococcus aureus. The infection is contagious and may spread to other areas of the body or other people.
A carbuncle is made up of several skin boils (furuncles). The infected mass is filled with fluid, pus, and dead tissue. Fluid may drain out of the carbuncle, but sometimes the mass is so deep that it cannot drain on its own.
Carbuncles may develop anywhere, but they are most common on the back and the nape of the neck. Men get carbuncles more often than women.
Because the condition is contagious, several family members may develop carbuncles at the same time. Often, the cause of a carbuncle cannot be determined.
You are more likely to get a carbuncle if you have:
Persons with diabetes, dermatitis, and weakened immune systems are more likely to develop staph infections that can cause cabuncles.
Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 90.
Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 9.
Lopez FA. Skin and soft tissue infections. Infect Dis Clin North Am. Dec 2006; 20(4): 759-72, v-vi.
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