Impetigo: guidance, data and analysis

The characteristics, diagnosis and management of impetigo.

Impetigo is a common, mild skin infection, caused by Staphylococcus aureus, group A streptococci (Streptococcus pyogenes) - or a mixture of both. Group C and G streptococci can also cause impetigo.

The disease is highly infectious. Outbreaks can occur where there’s close contact between individuals or where personal items such as towels or clothes are shared. This includes schools, nurseries and military barracks. Cases occur in all ages but are more common in children.

For complications of impetigo, see NHS Choices.

Diagnosis and management

Impetigo is usually diagnosed clinically, principally on the appearance of lesions. If you need confirmation of the infecting organism, send swabs from skin lesions to a local microbiology laboratory for bacterial culture and sensitivity testing.

  1. Infection control in schools

    • Guidance