Postgrad Med J 80:267-270 doi:10.1136/pgmj.2003.009274
  • Review

Tropical pyomyositis (myositis tropicans): current perspective

  1. S Chauhan1,
  2. S Jain1,
  3. S Varma1,
  4. S S Chauhan2
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India
  2. 2City Medical Centre, Panchkula, Haryana, India
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Sandeep Chauhan
 126A Sector 6, Panchkula 134109, Haryana, India;
  • Received 23 April 2003
  • Accepted 4 December 2003


Tropical pyomyositis, a disease often seen in tropical countries, is characterised by suppuration within skeletal muscles, manifesting as single or multiple abscesses. The most common organism implicated is Staphylococcus aureus. In 20%–50% of cases there is a history of trauma to the affected muscles. Commonly involved muscles are quadriceps, glutei, pectoralis major, serratus anterior, biceps, iliopsoas, gastrocnemius, abdominal and spinal muscles. Early diagnosis is often missed because of lack of specific signs, unfamiliarity with the disease, atypical manifestations, and a wide range of differential diagnosis. Diagnostic techniques like ultrasound and computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging are very useful in diagnosis. The diagnosis is confirmed either by biopsy or aspiration of pus from the affected muscles. The initial antibiotic of choice is cloxacillin. Incision and drainage are important components of management. Treatment for Gram negative or anaerobic organisms should be instituted, whenever indicated. Physicians should become more familiar with this potentially life threatening but curable infective disease entity.