Flesh-Eating Bacteria | Necrotizing Fasciitis


Credit: CDC

Flesh-Eating Bacteria | Necrotizing Fasciitis

A Georgia college student isِ inِ critical condition afterِ getting infected byِ flesh-eating bacteria duringِ a zip line accident lastِ week.
When theِ zip line broke, Aimee Copeland, 24, fell andِ cut herِ leg; sheِ gotِ stitches andِ went home toِ recover, butِ soon returned toِ theِ hospital withِ severe pain deep inِ herِ leg.
The leg wasِ amputated, butِ the infection spread toِ otherِ parts ofِ herِ body, andِ she mostِ likelyِ faces additional amputations ofِ herِ hands andِ remaining foot.

What is flesh-eating bacteria, and why is it so deadly?

Necrotizing fasciitis, asِ Copeland’s condition isِ called, isِ a severe bacterial infection thatِ destroys muscles, skin, andِ underlying tissue.
(The word necrotizing refers toِ somethingِ that causesِ body tissue toِ die.) Although manyِ types ofِ bacteria canِ cause theِ infection, theِ bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes — theِ sameِ pathogen thatِ causesِ Strep throat — brings onِ a particularlyِ severe andِ often deadly form ofِ the disease whenِ itِ infects theِ fascia, orِ connective tissue thatِ surrounds muscles, blood vessels andِ nerves.
According toِ theِ National Institutes ofِ Health, Necrotizing soft tissue infection develops whenِ theِ bacteria enters theِ body, usuallyِ throughِ a minor cut orِ scrape.