Acute Lymphangitis (Encyclopedia of Medicine)
Acute lymphangitis is a bacterial infection in the lymphatic vessels which is characterized by painful, red streaks below the skin surface. This is a potentially serious infection which can rapidly spread to the bloodstream and be fatal.
Acute lymphangitis affects a critical member of the immune systemhe lymphatic system. Waste materials from nearly every organ in the body drain into the lymphatic vessels and are filtered in small organs called lymph nodes. Foreign bodies, such as bacteria or viruses, are processed in the lymph nodes to generate an immune response to fight an infection.
In acute lymphangitis, bacteria enter the body through a cut, scratch, insect bite, surgical wound, or other skin injury. Once the bacteria enter the lymphatic system, they multiply rapidly and follow the lymphatic vessel like a highway. The infected lymphatic vessel becomes inflamed, causing red streaks that are visible below the skin surface. The growth of the bacteria occurs so rapidly that the immune system does not respond fast enough to stop the infection.
If left untreated, the bacteria can cause tissue destruction in the area of the infection. A pus-filled, painful lump called an abscess may be formed in the infected area. Cellulitis, a generalized infection of...
(The entire section is 838 words.)
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