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Guest Post: Flesh-eating bacteria

Flesh Eating Bacteria Can Infect Anyone – What You Should Know

What is it?

Necrotizing fasciitis, commonly known as flesh eating bacteria, infects various layers of the skin. In most cases, an immunocompromised individual, such as a smoker, drug addict, diabetic, or cancer patient is most vulnerable, although healthy individuals are also susceptible. A recent surge of media coverage for this disease has brought about widespread awareness – and here are some things you should know.

How does it infect?

The causal agent can be one of many infectious bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Clostridum perfringens, or Aeromonas hydrophila. These organisms can be part of normal human skin microflora or found in common settings such as a freshwater environment. Entry through just a small or even non-apparent cut may be enough to induce inflammation and subsequently, tissue necrosis. A common misconception comes from the name “flesh eating bacteria” itself, as the bacteria isn’t actually damaging the tissue, rather the toxins they leave behind. If left untreated, the toxins eventually spread to the rest of the body and can cause death through sepsis. It’s not uncommon for victims to undergo amputations in order to prevent systemic spread of the bacteria.

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