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.