BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2013-009260

Unwanted baggage

  1. Martin Schaller1
  1. 1Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Tuebingen, Tübingen, Germany
  2. 2Outpatient Dermatology Practice, Dres Leitz, Stuttgart, Germany
  3. 3Department of Dermatology, Hautklinik Bad Cannstatt, Stuttgart, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nicolas Leitz, nicolas.leitz{at}


An elderly woman with a rapidly progressing lower leg ulcer presented with features of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). The ulcer had occurred after hitting her leg against a piece of luggage. The causative pathogen in our case was by Corynebacterium ulcerans, demonstrated in bacterial cultures and by PCR. Disease progression was stopped only by Linezolid intravenous. after several other antibiotics failed to help. Diphtheria is known to most physicians as a respiratory disease caused by Corynebacterium diphtheria which is occurring in the developed world infrequently because of widespread use of immunisation programmes. However, cutaneous infection with diphtheria is increasingly being diagnosed.

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