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An abscess refers to a collection of pus that collects somewhere in the body. It is a response to bacterial infection (or rarely, a foreign body in the tissue, as in a stitch abscess). A smaller, single abscess near the skin surface is called a furuncle; larger, multichambered abscesses are called carbuncles. The body is very adept at walling off the infected area to keep the infection from spreading. Antibiotics are often given to aid the cure of an abscess but the real cure is generally surgical. Open the thing up and allow the pus to drain, and the body will take care of the infection.