Impetigo is a type of bacterial skin condition that is caused by one of two types of bacteria -- Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus. In the majority of cases, Staphylococcus is what causes impetigo. Living in crowded, unsanitary places and being a child between the ages of two and five years old are some of the risk factors that may increase the risk of transmitting this infection.
What Causes Impetigo?Impetigo is a common skin infection most often seen in children. It is caused by one of two types of bacteria:
- Staphylococcus aureus (staph for short)
Staphylococcus, which causes staph infections, is the most common type of infection that results in impetigo.
Streptococcus is the culprit in a minority of cases. It is best known for causing strep throat, although it can cause a range of infections, including impetigo. Interestingly, the type of Streptococcus that causes impetigo is rarely the same type that causes strep throat.
Impetigo Risk FactorsSeveral factors can increase a person's chances of developing impetigo. Some of these risk factors include:
- Being between the ages of two and five years old
- Warm, humid conditions
- Trauma to the skin (cuts, sores, shaving, or insect bites)
- People with scabies
- Living in crowded or unsanitary places, such as prisons, military barracks, or homeless shelters
- Physical contact with a person who has a draining cut or sore, or who is a carrier of Staphylococcus.
(Want to know how a person gets impetigo? Click Impetigo Transmission to learn more.)