Flesh eating disease also referred to as necrotizing fasciitis is an infection which caused by more than one type of bacteria, however frequently it is used to describe bacterial infection caused by streptococcus pyogenes. The term is used to describe the toxins that are produced by the bacteria and result in the destruction of skin, fat and muscle tissue.
Flesh eating disease is a condition that is caused by Group A streptococcus and staphylococcus bacteria. In some cases, it may be caused in combination with other bacteria including clostridium, bactericides, peptostreptococcus, E coli, Klebsiella and Pseudomonas. Note that anaerobic bacteria are more frequently associated with flesh eating disease compared to non-anaerobic bacteria. There are other organisms like gram negative bacteria called Aeromonas Hydrophilia may also result in this infection.
The most common route of entry for these bacteria inside the body is via cuts, scrapes or wounds. These bacteria enter the blood stream through the site of injury and spread via the blood stream, causing infection and sepsis.
Symptoms Of Flesh Eating Disease
In most of the cases, there is a history of a wound or injury to any of the extremity. This is followed by a series of symptoms which eventually result in the development of the disease,
- The wound doesn’t heal, but results in swelling and redness associated with severe pain and tingling numbness. Patients often tend to experience systemic symptoms like fever with chills.
- Eventually, skin changes are observed in the form of ulcerations, blisters, necrotic scaring and scabs and drainage of pus filled fluid from the site.
- In the next stage, sepsis or infection tends to spread though the blood stream. In some cases, flesh eating disease may affect superficial tissues (i.e. the fascia and skin), while in other cases, it may affect deeper tissue (i.e. the muscles). This often depends upon the type of injury. Superficial or type 2 doesn’t result in production of gas, while deep or type 1 is associated with minimal amount of gas production.
- Type 3 is caused especially when the wound is infected with clostrodium bacteria, which result in the production of gas and formation of gangrene. This condition is usually associated with deep injuries or wounds.
How To Treat Flesh Eating Disease?
The treatment of flesh eating disease requires immediate hospitalization and the prognosis of the patient often depends upon how early the disease condition is detected. As the infection spreads through the body, the prognosis deteriorates. The standard treatment regimen depends on the following,
- The treatment of the condition begins with broad spectrum and multiple antibiotics. The physician may also perform culture sensitivity to identify the appropriate antibiotics for the condition.
- Surgical intervention may be required for debridement of the necrotic tissue and to prevent the spread of the infection.
Patients affected with this condition often require Intensive and critical care. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is considered to improve the chances of the patients affected with this condition.