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Impetigo Transmission

Because impetigo is a contagious infection, it can be spread from one person to another or from one area of the body to another. The sores contain a large amount of bacteria, so transmitting impetigo can be as simple as touching an infected sore and then touching another part of the body, or coming into contact with a contaminated surface.

How Is Impetigo Spread?

Impetigo is a contagious skin infection. There are a couple of different ways that a person can transmit it. Bacteria can enter the skin through a cut, scrape, insect bite, or other breaks in the skin. A person can also get impetigo without a break in the skin. This usually happens because of dried Streptococcus bacteria in the air.
People can transmit bacteria from one person to another or within the same infected person. Impetigo sores have a large amount of bacteria in them. If you scratch or touch an active sore contaminated with bacteria and then touch another part of the body, you can spread infection to that area. The infection can also spread from one person to another in the same manner. Skin-to-skin contact is the most common method of impetigo transmission.
The bacteria that cause impetigo may also spread by touching shared items or surfaces that have come into contact with someone else's infection. This includes things such as towels, bedding, uniforms, razors, washcloths, and sporting equipment.
Finally, bacteria can be transmitted through discharge from the nose of a person colonized with bacteria (see Staph Transmission for more information about colonization).

How Long After Transmission Do Impetigo Symptoms Occur?

When someone becomes infected with the bacteria that cause impetigo, they do not immediately have any signs or symptoms; it takes about one to three days, on average, for symptoms to appear. This period between transmission and the beginning of symptoms is called the "impetigo incubation period."
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Impetigo Information

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