What is a Flesh-Eating Disease?

December 29, 2012
97 Views

Necrotizing fasciitis, also known as “flesh-eating disease,” is a rare but serious bacterial infection. The infection can enter the body through respiratory droplets, such as a sneeze or cough, through a surgical incision, or a simple cut or scrape.

Necrotizing fasciitis, also known as “flesh-eating disease,” is a rare but serious bacterial infection. The infection can enter the body through respiratory droplets, such as a sneeze or cough, through a surgical incision, or a simple cut or scrape.

However, unlike many other infections this one spreads very fast. The bacteria produce toxins that destroy muscles, skin and underlying body tissues.bacteria

Streptococcus bacteria, the same bacteria that cause strep throat, are one of the most common causes for flesh eating disease. Less commonly, other bacteria may cause this infection. At the onset you could feel flu-like symptoms and severe pain in the infected area. Within a day or so, the work of the destructive bacteria becomes obvious: swollen, dark tissues and blisters filled with black fluid develop on the infected body part. A person with this disease may develop shock. The infected person requires immediate hospitalization to receive antibiotics and to have infected tissue surgically removed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, necrotizing fasciitis kills about 20% of the people it affects, but complications due to toxic shock can push the mortality rate to 50%. Survivors may face amputation, disfiguration, and months of skin grafts to repair damaged areas.

Anyone can be infected; however, those with weakened immune systems, people who have diabetes, alcohol and drug abusers, the elderly, and those who undergo abdominal surgery are at higher risk.

The best way to defend yourself against these bacteria is to wash your hands thoroughly and often and keep your skin intact.

– Written by Faith Hirschbein, Office Coordinator, Infection Prevention and Control, Sinai Hospital, and Jackie Daley, Director Infection Prevention and Control, Sinai Hospital

 

You may be interested

Care On The Road: How Telemedicine Can Reach Truck Drivers
Mobile Health
13 views
Mobile Health
13 views

Care On The Road: How Telemedicine Can Reach Truck Drivers

Larry Alton - August 21, 2017

Telemedicine is considered a powerful tool for individuals living in rural areas, far from adequate services or in need of…

Where Is The Balance? Pushing Back Against Consumer Health Tech
eHealth
3 views
eHealth
3 views

Where Is The Balance? Pushing Back Against Consumer Health Tech

Larry Alton - August 18, 2017

When Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz glibly remarked that Americans struggling to afford insurance should choose between that and their smartphones,…

What to Look for in Patient Solutions Software
eHealth
365 views
eHealth
365 views

What to Look for in Patient Solutions Software

Robert Cordray - August 17, 2017

The medical sector is one area where technology has had a significant impact, largely by providing tools that simplify many…