Almudena Burillo, Ana Pulido-Pérez, Emilio Bouza

Current challenges in acute bacterial skin infection management

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology (medical)

Purpose of review There are aspects of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) that remain unresolved, such as current numbers, classification criteria, how best to define severity and predict the outcome, what diagnostic tests to perform, what new treatment options are available, or what the duration of antibiotic treatment should be. We have reviewed the literature over the last 18 months to clarify these issues and provide our opinion. Recent findings SSTIs are common and among the top 10 most frequent infections worldwide. They represent a burden on the healthcare system and have a major impact on the quality of life of patients. Regarding classification, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) provides a practical guide that distinguishes between uncomplicated and complicated infections, acute and chronic wound infections, and necrotising and nonnecrotizing infections based on skin extension and tissue necrosis. With new microbiological and imaging diagnostic techniques, SSTIs can now be better diagnosed. New PCR techniques are available, and mass spectrometry can be applied to samples collected in liquid transport media. Moreover, new treatment methods such as photodynamic therapy, reactive oxygen, and phages are emerging. SSTI patients can be treated with shorter antibiotic courses if they receive an active drug with good tissue penetration. Antibiotic treatment in necrotizing infections can be shortened to 48 h after the last debridement. Summary SSTIs remain a challenge regarding rapid and accurate diagnosis and clinical management.

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