Flesh-eating bacteria: What is all about

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Have you heard the story of the OFW couple in Hongkong which have to have a reunion, but the supposedly happy reunion becomes tragic when the man got infected with the very rare disease known as flesh eating bacteria or necrotizing fasciitis.

one of the bacteria that causes the disease (Photo by: vyperlook.com)

Necrotizing fasciitis as popularized by media as flesh-eating bacteria or flesh eating disease is a rare infection of the deeper layers of the skin that are easily spreading across the body’s soft tissues. According to experts the disease is cause by a Group A Streptococcus bacteria, (causes sore throat) and Vibrio vulnificus, which is common for fresh fish and in brackish water.

Among the symptoms of the flesh-eating bacteria include redness, swelling, and pain in the affected area. Blisters may be seen in the involved area of skin. Fever, nausea, vomiting, and other flulike symptoms are also common.

Another characteristic of flesh-eating bacteria / necrotizing fasciitis is that the symptoms develop very rapidly, usually within 24 hours after a wound in the skin has allowed the bacteria to invade the tissues beneath the skin. The pain is described as being more severe than would be expected from the appearance of the wound. Late symptoms can include death (gangrene) of affected areas with scaling, discoloration, or peeling of the skin.

People with chronic medical conditions such as diabetics and cancer patients or those who have weak immune systems are the most at risk of developing flesh eating bacteria disease or necrotizing fasciitis. Recent wounds (including surgical incisions) and recent viral infections that cause a rash (such as chickenpox) are among the entry point of the bacteria to the body. That’s why the public is being advice to give good care of their skin – our biggest protection against this rare disease.

Necrotizing fasciitis is treated with antibiotics, and early treatment is critical. Hospitalization, usually with treatment in the intensive-care unit (ICU), is required. Surgery to remove infected fluids and tissue may be necessary, along with medications to treat shock and other potential complications.

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