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1. An acute bacterial infection of the skin and superficial lymphatic vessels, caused by streptococci and marked by localized inflammation and fever. Also called Saint Anthony's fire.
2. Infection of pigs, sheep, turkeys, or other animals with the bacterium Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, characterized by symptoms such as skin lesions and arthritis in mammals and septicemia in fowl. Humans who become infected with the bacterium from handling infected animals or animal products can develop erysipeloid.
[Middle English erisipila, from Latin erysipelas, from Greek erusipelas : erusi-, red; see reudh- in Indo-European roots + -pelas, skin; see pel- in Indo-European roots.]
er′y·si·pel′a·tous (-sĭ-pĕl′ə-təs) adj.