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Meningococcal lesions on the back

Meningococcemia is a life-threatening infection that occurs when the bacteria, Neisseria meningitidis, invades the blood stream. Bleeding into the skin (petechiae and purpura) usually occurs and the tissue may die (become necrotic or gangrenous). If the patient survives, the areas heal with scarring.


Review Date: 1/26/2012
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (8/24/2011).
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