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Open Access Case report

Erythema caused by a localised skin infection with Arthrobacter mysorens

Can Imirzalioglu, Torsten Hain, Hamid Hossain, Trinad Chakraborty and Eugen Domann*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Medical Microbiology, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Frankfurter Strasse 107, D-35392 Giessen, Germany

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:352  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-352

Published: 15 December 2010

Abstract

Background

Skin erythemas of unknown origin are a frequent reason for consulting the general practitioner or dermatologist.

Case presentation

Here we report a case of an erythema resembling the erythema migrans manifestation of Lyme disease, but with atypical symptoms like persistent pruritus. The patient had no history of a recent tick-bite but displayed a positive serology for an advanced stage of Lyme borreliosis, which stood in contrast to the clinical manifestation of erythema migrans as a symptom of early Lyme disease. Three skin swabs and soil samples, collected in the area where the patient possibly acquired the infection, were examined by bacterial and fungal culture methods. Microorganisms were identified by using 16 S rRNA gene sequencing and bioinformatics. The patient and soil isolates were compared by employing RAPD analysis. The serum samples of the patient were examined by immunoblotting. Arthrobacter mysorens, a soil bacterium, was isolated from the collected skin and soil samples. The identity of both isolates was determined by molecular fingerprinting methods. A. mysorens was proven to be causative for the erythema by direct isolation from the affected skin and a positive serology, thus explaining the atypical appearance of the erythema compared to erythema migrans caused by Borrelia infection.

Conclusions

Infections with A.mysorens might be underreported and microbiological diagnostic techniques should be applied in cases of patients with unclear erythemas, resembling erythema migrans, without a history of tick bites.