Font Size
A
A
A

Fish-Handler's Disease (cont.)

IN THIS ARTICLE

Fish-Handler's Disease Symptoms and Signs

Patient Comments

Symptoms for fish-handler's disease caused by Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae and other species are as follows:

  • The disease generally develops two to seven days after injury to the skin and subsequent bacterial infection.
  • A sharply defined, red-purple circular area appears and surrounds the puncture; the center usually fades, and occasionally a vesicle (blister-like lesion) may appear.
  • The area of injury increases in diameter by about ½ inch per day.
  • Joint stiffness, lymph node swelling, and pain, burning, itching, and swelling at the infection site may accompany the infection.
  • Rarely, the disease may progress to produce sepsis (infection of the bloodstream) and endocarditis (infection of the heart valves).

Symptoms for fish-handler's disease caused by Mycobacterium species are as follows:

  • The disease generally develops about two to four weeks after exposure, although up to nine months postexposure has been reported.
  • Skin lesions are often multiple and linear but can be single.
  • Lesions can appear as nodules, abscesses, or ulcers, with skin color changes, and develop slowly (months).
  • Joint pain, lymph node swelling, and tendonitis may develop.
  • Rarely, the disease may progress to sepsis (infection of the bloodstream).

When to Seek Medical Care for Fish Handler's Disease

  • If a person develops any skin lesions (either painful or not) after handling fish or other aquatic organisms, or after swimming, boating, or cleaning fish tanks or aquariums, they should seek medical care; those with a suppressed immune system should immediately contact their doctor.
  • Consult a doctor about treatment with available medications so that the appropriate antibiotic is given to treat the specific bacterial cause of the disease.

Diagnosis of Fish-Handler's Disease

Diagnosis of the cause of an individual's fish-handler's disease is done by culturing the bacteria from the lesions or by PCR tests (tests that identify the genetic material of bacteria or other organisms) specific for the bacterial type involved.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/20/2016

Must Read Articles Related to Fish-Handler's Disease

Antibiotics
Antibiotics Antibiotics are prescribed to individuals to ...learn more >>
Finger Infection
Finger Infection Finger infections can be caused by a variety of bacteria and viruses. Types of finger infections include paronychia, felon, herpetic whitlow, cellulitis, infect...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Fish-Handler's Disease:

Fish-Handler's Disease - Experience

Please share your experience with Fish-handler's disease.

Fish-Handler's Disease - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with Fish-handler's disease?

Fish-Handler's Disease - Antibiotics

What type of infection did you have with Fish-handler's disease, and what antibiotics were effective in curing the disease?


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Echinoderm Envenomation »

The phylum Echinodermata includes a diverse group of marine animals that are slow moving and nonaggressive, including brittle stars (class Ophiuroidea), starfish (class Asteroidea), sea urchins (class Echinoidea), and sea cucumbers (class Holothuroidea).

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary