The area of the skin infected with carbuncles can be highly contagious. Skin-to-skin contact can spread the infection to other body parts and other people. Infants and older adults with weak immune systems are especially at risk to this type of exposure. In essence, anyone with a weakened immune system should avoid being near carbuncles or boils. Other conditions that increase the likelihood of contagion include kidney disease, liver disease, and poor hygiene. Although it is rare, the infection from a carbuncle can enter the bloodstream and create a state of sepsis, or poison, that spreads to other parts of the body. In some cases, the infection can even reach the heart and bones and create permanent damage, including death.
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