Skin manifestations of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections

Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2021 Apr 1;34(2):72-79. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000717.


Purpose of review: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen with considerable morbidity and mortality, particularly in vulnerable hosts. Skin manifestations are common, either representing local inoculation or secondary skin seeding following bloodstream infections. As patients with various predisposing conditions are expanding, we sought to review the most recent published evidence regarding epidemiology, risk factors and diagnosis of skin manifestations of P. aeruginosa.

Recent findings: New data exist on epidemiology and diagnosis of skin infections; systemic infections are impacted by multidrug-resistance issues and host immune status.

Summary: Green nail syndrome, toe web infection, hot tub folliculitis, hot hand-foot infection and external otitis are the most common infections originating from the skin per se. Local treatments are the cornerstone and prognosis is favorable in immunocompetent hosts. Ecthyma gangrenosum and P. aeruginosa subcutaneous nodules are usually associated with bloodstream infections and occur primarily in immunocompromised hosts. Necrotizing skin and soft tissue infections occur in diabetic, alcoholic and immunocompromised patients; management requires a multidisciplinary team with surgical approach. Burn wound infections may also be challenging, requiring a specialized team. In all the four latter types of P. aeruginosa skin infections portending significant morbidity and mortality, systemic antibiotics are an integral part of the treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Folliculitis / drug therapy
  • Folliculitis / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Pseudomonas Infections / drug therapy
  • Pseudomonas Infections / microbiology*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology*
  • Skin Diseases, Bacterial / drug therapy
  • Skin Diseases, Bacterial / microbiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents