Journal Article

Risk Factors for Skin and Soft-Tissue Abscesses among Injection Drug Users: A Case-Control Study

Edward L. Murphy, Deborah DeVita, Hui Liu, Eric Vittinghoff, Paul Leung, Daniel H. Ciccarone and Brian R. Edlin

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 33, issue 1, pages 35-40
Published in print July 2001 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online July 2001 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/320879
Risk Factors for Skin and Soft-Tissue Abscesses among Injection Drug Users: A Case-Control Study

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Skin and soft-tissue abscesses, a common problem among injection drug users (IDUs), result in serious morbidity for the patient and costly hospitalizations for incision and drainage; however, there has been little etiologic or preventive epidemiologic research on this problem. We performed a case-control study that enrolled 151 IDUs who had been given a new diagnosis of abscess requiring incision and drainage (cases) and 267 IDUs who did not have abscess or other bacterial infection during the previous year and who were stratum-matched to cases according to age, sex, and race (controls). Subcutaneous or intramuscular, instead of intravenous, injection is a major risk factor for abscess among IDUs. The injection of a cocaine and heroin mixture, or “speedball,” may predispose patients to develop abscess by inducing soft-tissue ischemia. Cleaning the skin with alcohol before injection was found to have a protective effect. Neither human immunodeficiency virus nor human T-lymphotropic virus type II seropositivity was significantly associated with abscess.

Journal Article.  3996 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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