Also known as

  • Saint Anthony’s Fire


A contagious infection of the skin and underlying tissue, caused by group A B-hemolytic streptococcus bacteria. Erysipelas causes affected areas of skin to turn bright red and become slightly swollen. The swollen blotches have a distinct border and slowly expand into the surrounding skin. The lesions are most commonly seen on the face, scalp, hands, and legs. They feel hot to the touch and the patient is feverish. Centuries ago erysipelas epidemics caused severe and often fatal infections. Today erysipelas is a rather mild and relatively rare infection that clears up rapidly when penicillin or other antibiotics are taken.

Miraculous cures having been brought about by the intercession of Saint Anthony, whence the name, the Order of Canons Regular of Saint Anthony was founded, 1090, for the relief of those afflicted with this disease.

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “erysipelas”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 November 2019. Web. 2 March 2021. <>