About Necrotizing Fasciitis



 Commonly Known as The "Flesh Eating" Bacteria
Common Questions Answered as Simply as Possible

Published by the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation 
How do you say It?

The pronunciation is neck-row-tize-ing fash-e-i-tis, it means decaying infection of the fascia.

What Is It?

It is a bacterial infection caused commonly by group A Strep bacteria, which is the same bacteria that causes common Strep throat. Usually easily killed by antibiotics, sometimes a very strong variety of Strep occurs. This is the one that causes the life-threatening cases and is known as the "flesh-eating" bacteria. NF can also be caused by other bacteria, or a mixture of bacteria. The bacteria destroys soft tissue at the subcutaneous level, and often is coupled with toxic shock syndrome, both are deadly alone, together they are even more so. If muscle is destroyed, it is necrotizing myositis.

How do you get it?

Most often the bacteria enter the body through an opening in the skin, quite often a very minor opening, even as small as a paper cut, a staple puncture, or a pin prick. It can also enter through weakened skin, like a bruise, blister, or abrasion. It can also happen following a major trauma or surgery, and in some cases there appears to be no identifiable point of entry.

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Group A Streptococcus


  • Group A streptococcus, or group A strep, is a bacterium commonly found in the throat and on the skin. Group A strep bacteria can cause a range of infections, from relatively mild sore throats and skin infections to life-threatening invasive disease.
  • Group A strep bacteria are spread by direct person-to-person contact.
  • Group A strep infections can usually be treated with antibiotics.
  • Two types of very serious group A strep infections are necrotizing fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.
  • To prevent group A strep infections: 1) wash hands thoroughly and often, 2) get a throat culture for a sore throat with fever, and 3) keep wounds clean and seek medical care for infected wounds with fever.


What is group A streptococcus (group A strep)?

Group A streptococcus (group A strep) is a bacterium that is commonly found in the throat and on the skin. The letter "A" refers to a classification of bacteria in the genus Streptococcus according to the makeup of the organism's cell wall. Group A strep bacteria might cause no symptoms of disease, but they can also cause infections that range from mild to life-threatening.

Where is group A strep found?

Group A strep bacteria are found worldwide.


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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA); Hospital-acquired MRSA (HA-MRSA)

Last reviewed: May 30, 2009.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterial infection that is highly resistant to some antibiotics.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

MRSA is a strain of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) bacteria. S. aureus is a common type of bacteria that normally live on the skin and sometimes in the nasal passages of healthy people. MRSA refers to S. aureus strains that do not respond to some of the antibiotics used to treat staph infections.

The bacteria can cause infection when they enter the body through a cut, sore, catheter, or breathing tube. The infection can be minor and local (for example, a pimple), or more serious (involving the heart, lung, blood, or bone).

Serious staph infections are more common in people with weak immune systems. This includes patients in hospitals and long-term care facilities and those receiving kidney dialysis.

MRSA infections are grouped into two types:

  • Healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) infections occur in people who are or have recently been in a hospital or other health-care facility. Those who have been hospitalized or had surgery within the past year are at increased risk. MRSA bacteria are responsible for a large percentage of hospital-acquired staph infections.

  • Community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) infections occur in otherwise healthy people who have not recently been in the hospital. The infections have occurred among athletes who share equipment or personal items (such as towels or razors) and children in daycare facilities. Members of the military and those who get tattoos are also at risk. The number of CA-MRSA cases is increasing.


Educational Video - Nerotizing Fasciitis

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