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Impetigo Causes

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)
  • Streptococcus.
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 Factors

Several 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.)
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Impetigo Information

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