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Perianal streptococcal cellulitis

Definition

Perianal streptococcal cellulitis is an inflammation of the anus and rectum caused by Streptococcus bacteria.

Alternative Names

Streptococcal proctitis; Proctitis - streptococcal

Causes

Perianal streptococcal cellulitis usually occurs in children, often with or after strep throat, nasopharyngitis, or streptococcal skin infection (impetigo).

Children may infect the skin around the anus while cleaning the area after using the toilet or by scratching with hands that have bacteria from their mouth or nose.

Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Itching, pain, or bleeding with bowel movements
  • Redness around the anus

Exams and Tests

Treatment

The infection is treated with antibiotics for about 10 days, depending on how well and quickly it appears to be working. Penicillin is the most often used antibiotic in children who are not allergic to it.

Mupirocin can be applied directly to the skin (topical). Topical medicine can be used along with other antibiotics, but should not be the only treatment.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Children usually recover quickly with antibiotic treatment. It is important to contact your health care provider if your child does not get better soon on antibiotics.

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if your child complains of pain in the rectal area, painful bowel movements, or other symptoms of perianal streptococcal cellulitis.

If your child is taking antibiotics for this condition and the area of redness gets worse, or the discomfort or fever are increasing, call your health care provider immediately.

Prevention

Take a full course of antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria from the affected site. Careful handwashing can help prevent this and other infections caused by bacteria carried in the nose and throat.

References

Gerber MA. Group A streptococcus. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 176.


Review Date: 11/20/2013
Reviewed By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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