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Can J Plast Surg. 2009 Winter;17(4):133-5.

Seal finger: A case report and review of the literature.

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Division of Plastic Surgery, Discipline of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario;


A recent case of seal finger which was misdiagnosed and hence mistreated at the patient's first presentation is described. The patient was eventually referred to a hand specialist and after the correct treatment with tetracycline, responded well without any long-term sequelae. Seal finger is an occupational injury that occurs to those who work directly or indirectly with seals. The disease entity has been described in both Scandinavian and Canadian literature. The causative microorganism was unknown until 1991, when Mycoplasma phocacerebrale was isolated from both the finger of a patient with seal finger and from the mouth of a seal that bit the patient. Although rare, the disease is not uncommon in marine workers, biologists and veterinarians. Prompt identification based on patient history and treatment with oral tetracycline is pendant to a favourable patient outcome.


Case report; Mycoplasma phocacerebrale; Seal finger; Sealer’s finger; Tetracycline

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