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Necrotizing-Fasciitis

Flesh Eating Disease – Necrotizing Fasciitis

Necrotizing soft tissue infection is a severe and very rare type of bacterial infection which destroys the muscles, skin, and underlying tissue. The word “necrotizing” means something that causes body tissue to die.

Necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) information:

  • Necrotizing fasciitis is a rapidly spreading infection, usually located in fascial planes of connective tissue that results in tissue death (necrosis). ). Fascial planes are bands of connective tissue that surround muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Fascial planes can bind structures together as well as allow body structures to slide over each other effectively.
  • Different types of bacterial infection can cause necrotizing fasciitis. Necrotizing Fascitis is mainly caused by group A beta-hemolytic streptococci (Streptococcus pyogenes), most investigators now agree that many different bacterial genera and species, either alone or together (polymicrobial), can cause this disease. Occasionally, mycotic (fungal) species cause necrotizing fasciitis.
  • The majority of cases begin with an existing infection or a wound most frequently on an extremity. It can occur in almost any area of the body.
  • Necrotizing fasciitis is a serious condition that is often associated with sepsis and extensive organ failure.
  • Treatment involves antibiotics and surgical debridement of the wound areas as well as supportive measures such as insertion of a breathing tube, intravenous administration of fluids, and drugs to support the cardiovascular system.
  • Currently, there are many names that have been used for necrotizing fasciitis:flesh-eating bacterial infection or disease; suppurative fasciitis; dermal, Meleney, hospital, or Fournier’s gangrene; and necrotizing cellulitis.
  • Important in understanding necrotizing fasciitis is the fact that  the infecting organism(s), once it reaches and grows in connective tissue, the spread of the infection is so fast (some organisms can progress about 3 centimeters per hour) that the infection becomes hard to stop with both antimicrobial drugs and surgery. Continue reading