By: Dana Sherr, Maia Sambuco, and Madie D'Entremont
The Flesh Eating Bacteria
Necrotizing- "causing the death of tissues" Fasciitis- "inflammation of the fascia"
The fascia is a general term for all of the collagen based soft-tissues in the body. That includes tendons, ligaments and even the fibrous tissue that surrounds you organs. It is also found in layers beneath the skin!
Necrotizing Fasciitis is the infection that causes the death of the fascia, by decaying and eating away at it. That is why this infection is also know as the gruesome "flesh-eating bacteria!"
The Deadly Pathogen
There are multiple bacterial pathogens that can cause necrotizing fasciitis, such as Klebsiella, Clostridium, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus. But, the most common cause is group A streptococcus, which is the same bacteria that causes strep throat.
Symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis can be confusing and misleading which often leads to a late diagnosis, which can be fatal. Early symptoms of this infection can seem like any other illness, with the exception of an immense burning pain in the affected area.
Early Symptoms: (24 hours)
-Minor pain in the general region of the affected area. May feel like a pulled muscle or sore joint
-Progressing pain in affected area
-Flu like symptoms including: fever, chills, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, vomiting
Progressing Symptoms: (2-4 days)
-Red or purple marks on the skin
-Ulcers or blisters filled with black fluid
-Flaky or bubbling patches on the skin
-Skin may turn blue, black, red, or white
If this infection is not treated quickly, your body may succumb to toxic shock and your blood pressure with drop immensely.
How to Become Infected/ Transmission of the Disease
The most common way of being infected by necrotizing fasciitis is when the bacteria enters the body through an opening or break in the skin. The site of infection can be as small as a paper cut or bigger. Sadly, you can also contract this infection through surgery due to improper hygiene.
Treatment of this infection is highly advanced. Strong antibiotics are given through a needle, directly into the vein. In major cases, surgery or amputation is necessary. The purpose of surgery is to remove the infected and decaying areas of the skin.
People Infected with Necrotizing Fasciitis
“Necrotizing Fasciitis.” Medscape. N.p., 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2051157-overview>.
“Necrotizing Fasciitis.” NNFF. N.p., 2003. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. <http://www.nnff.org/nnff_factsheet.htm>.
“Necrotizing Fasciitis: A Rare Disease, Especially for the Healthy.” CDC. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2013. <http://www.cdc.gov/features/necrotizingfasciitis/>.