Skin abscess

Last updated: Wednesday, 22, December, 2010
Key InformationAppropriate Tests

Acute abscess

Pus - microscopy and culture, if moderate to severe infection.

Drainage without testing may be appropriate in some circumstances.

Staphylococcus aureus

Others including

  • Peptostreptococcus sp
  • Bacteroides spp
  • Propionibacterium sp
  • Streptococcus pyogenes
Infection may occasionally be caused by multiple pathogens.

Subacute, nodular abscess, ulcer

  • Atypical mycobacteria
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Nocardia spp
  • Sporothrix schenckii
  • Pseudallescheria boydii

Pus - microscopy and culture.

Often lesions are solid and there is no pus to culture.

Skin biopsy for fungal microscopy and culture and/or mycobacteria testing.

See also Mycobacterial infection