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Skinmed. 2005 Mar-Apr;4(2):115-8.

Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: skin infection presenting as an axillary abscess with cellulitis in a college athlete.

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University of Houston Health Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Erratum in

  • Skinmed. 2005 May-Jun;4(3):178.


A healthy 19-year-old black man without any methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus risk factors developed axillary boils after he began lifting weights at the university gym in Houston, TX. He presented with a large tender erythematous fluctuant abscess of his right axillae and a superiorly located smaller painful red indurated nodule; the surrounding cellulitis extended into the adjacent tissue (Figure). The abscess was incised, drained, and cultured. Empiric treatment with cephalexin 500 mg q.i.d. was given for 7 days. The culture grew methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Susceptibility testing of the S. aureus isolate was performed by Laboratory Corp. of America (Houston, TX); the Vitek system (Biomerieux, Hazelwood, MO) was used, and the specimen was incubated for 8 hours. Confirmation of methicillin resistance was performed using a methicillin-resistant S. aureus plate and the specimen was incubated for 24 hours. In addition to resistance to methicillin, the bacterial isolate was also resistant to ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, and penicillin. The S. aureus strain had intermediate susceptibility to levofloxacin and was susceptible to clindamycin, gentamicin, rifampin, tetracycline, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, and vancomycin. The infection persisted and the antibiotic was changed to double strength trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, taken twice daily for 15 days. In addition, topical care included lesional and intranasal application of mupirocin 2% ointment and daily cleaning of the area with 10% povidone-iodine liquid soap. The skin infection completely resolved without recurrence within 2 weeks.

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