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Arcanobacterium Haemolyticum Infections

Arcanobacterium (formerly classified as Corynebacterium) haemolyticum is an organism that most often causes infections and illnesses in teenagers and young adults. The infection is spread from person to person, apparently through respiratory tract droplets that carry the bacteria directly to the next person’s eyes or nose. The droplets can fall onto hands and then get into eyes and noses.

The most common symptom associated with A haemolyticum is a sore throat, although other symptoms such as a fever, swollen lymph glands, and an itchy skin rash occur frequently as well. The rash begins on the extremities and spreads to the chest and back. It will not be seen on the face, palms, or soles. It looks very similar to the rash of scarlet fever.

Strep throat is much more common than an A haemolyticum infection. If necessary, your pediatrician can do a test to distinguish between a sore throat caused by A haemolyticum and one associated with a streptococcal organism.

Antibacterials, typically erythromycin, can be used to treat this infection. The symptoms quickly clear up when taking these medicines, although the disease is likely to get better on its own without treatment.

Last Updated
Immunizations & Infectious Diseases: An Informed Parent's Guide (Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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