Also called flesh-eating bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis is a very rare but serious infection caused by bacteria which is capable of destroying fat, skin and the tissues covering the muscles in a very short duration. Fournier gangrene occurs when it affects the genitals.
Necrotizing fasciitis, when it occurs, can even amount to death. In fact, about 1 out of 4 infected people die from acquiring it, and in most cases, people are usually in good health and are unaware of even contracting the disease.
Causes of Necrotizing Fasciitis-
Necrotizing fasciitis generally occurs when certain kinds of bacteria, most commonly group A Streptococcus (GAS) bacteria, like staphylococcus and other types of bacteria which are also responsible for causing strep throat, infect a layer of connective tissue below the skin, called the superficial fascia.
Symptoms of Necrotizing Fasciitis-
Signs and symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis occur within a day or two after infection and the severity depends on how long they persist. Most often, they are a combination of:
1. Excessive pain in the general area in and around an abrasion, a cut or other kinds of skin openings.
2. Signs of redness and increased warmth in the area surrounding the wound.
3. Intense thirst as a result of dehydration.
4. Flu-like symptoms such as fever, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness and general malaise.
Some symptoms may persist for three to four days, and are more advanced in nature. These includes:
1. Large, violet-colored marks then evolve to blisters having dark, foul-smelling fluid.
2. Swelling which may be accompanied by a purplish rash.
3. As gangrene or tissue death occurs, there may be discoloration, peeling and flakiness.
Critical symptoms occur within four to five days of infection and may include:
1. Toxic shock
2. A heightened drop in blood pressure