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Flesh-Eating Bacteria No Cause for Panic, Experts Say

Despite scary headlines by the score, most people don't have to fear that they'll be the next victim of the so-called flesh-eating bacteria disease, experts say.

Flesh-eating bacteria, known scientifically as necrotizing fasciitis, occurs when certain types of bacteria penetrate the skin and then invade the blood system, eventually eating away at muscle and fat tissue.

Necrotizing fasciitis can be caused by any one of a number of bacterium.

The major culprits can be quite common in the environment and include Streptococcus, which can also cause strep throat, and Staphylococcus aureus, although sometimes more than one bacteria can be contributing to the problem.

But even infection with the chicken pox virus can result -- albeit rarely -- in necrotizing fasciitis.

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