Which pathogens cause cellulitis due to puncture wounds, lacerations, and bite wounds?

Updated: Jun 14, 2019
  • Author: Thomas E Herchline, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Mammalian bite wounds represent a specific subset of cellulitis with unique pathogens. The infections are usually polymicrobial. [41] Human, dog, cat, and wild-animal bites all predispose to cellulitis with unique pathogens, but dog bites are the most commonly encountered bite wound in both the primary care and the emergency setting. [42] Several organisms are of particular interest in animal bites, including the following [41] :

  • Capnocytophaga canimorsus (dog)

  • Eikenella corrodens (human)

  • Pasteurella multocida (dog or cat)

  • Streptobacillus moniliformis (rat)

Puncture wounds, especially through the bottom of athletic shoes, may cause Pseudomonas osteomyelitis and/or cellulitis. However, lacerations and puncture wounds sustained in an aquatic environment (eg, oceans, lakes, streams) may be contaminated with bacteria not typically found in land-based injuries, including Aeromonas hydrophila, Pseudomonas and Plesiomonas species, Vibrio species, Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, and Mycobacterium marinum. [43] Individuals with chronic liver disease are particularly susceptible to V vulnificus infections (see the image below). [44]

Cellulitis due to documented Vibrio vulnificus inf Cellulitis due to documented Vibrio vulnificus infection. (Image courtesy of Kepler Davis.)

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