Pseudomonas skin infections

Author: Brian Wu PhD. MD Candidate, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, USA; Chief Editor: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, November 2015.


Infection of the skin or soft tissues by Pseudomonas aeruginosa or other Pseudomonas species tend to be serious and complex because these bacteria are both invasive and toxigenic.

What causes Pseudomonas skin infections?

Pseudomonas aeruginosa can be commonly found on the skin, especially in the axillary and anogenital regions. However, healthy people do not normally develop Pseudomonas infection. Pseudomonas is considered to be opportunistic and more frequently causes disease in those who are immunocompromised.

Pseudomonas can be easily transmitted from hospital workers to their patients in absence of proper hand hygiene and is responsible for approximately 10% of all nosocomial infections.

Who is at risk for Pseudomonas skin infections?

Patients at higher risk for this infections include those with:

What are the signs and symptoms of a Pseudomonas skin infection?

Signs and symptoms of Pseudomonas infection can vary widely depending upon the site of the infection, but can include:

What are the different types of Pseudomonas skin infections?

Pseudomonas skin infections include:

What are the complications from Pseudomonas skin infections?

The most common complication of a Pseudomonas skin or soft tissue infection is bacteraemia; this usually comes from contaminated intravenous fluids, drugs or antiseptics used during placement of an intravenous line.

How are Pseudomonas skin infections diagnosed?

Pseudomonas infections are suspected on physical examination when there is a a greenish or blackish, fruity-smelling discharge. They are confirmed by laboratory studies of cultures taken from the affected area.

What are the treatments for Pseudomonas skin infections?

Treatment is based on the site of the Pseudomonas infection and its severity. It may include:

Related information

Email Newsletter

Would you like to receive our dermatology updates by email?


Submit your images

We're seeking high-quality photos of skin diseases.  


Machine diagnosis

Watch DermNet's proposal to create a 'Skin Disease Image Recognition Tool' - winner of the 2017 'Clinicians' Challenge Active Award' by the NZ Ministry of Health and HiNZ.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
DermNet NZ Newsletter