Flesh Eating Bug
Image: Cases Journal 2008 1:125
Necrotising fasciitis is a flesh eating bug, of which several hundred cases are reported in the UK each year. You’re far more likely to contract it in a tropical country, so stay savvy to the symptoms if you’re off to an exotic destination on holiday.
Most often the disease occurs in the legs, although it can affect any area of the body.
The bacteria enter through broken skin, so it can start with skin trauma as minor as a mosquito bite or small graze. The bacteria quickly eat away at soft tissue under the skin before spreading to surrounding tissues. The bacteria can devour flesh with alarming rapidity. Critical symptoms appear within 24 hours, starting with pain that is disproportionate to the injury, fever and dizziness. Usually after three days, purple rashes appear with large, dark marks and blisters filled with a blackish liquid. After four to five days, the body goes into shock and drops into unconsciousness. It is vital to see a health professional as soon as possible, who will treat the infection with antibiotics and by surgically removing the dead tissue. Don’t let this bug get under your skin; keep cuts and grazes clean, and maintain good hygiene.
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