10 Flesh Eating Bacteria Symptoms

By christine
Reviewed: dr. stavarache
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'Necrotizing Fasciitis: Acting Fast Is Key.' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 Dec. 2019, www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/diseases-public/necrotizing-fasciitis.html
  • 2. 'Get the Facts about Necrotizing Fasciitis: The Flesh-Eating Disease.' APIC, apic.org/monthly/alerts/get-the-facts-about-necrotizing-fasciitis-the-flesh-eating-disease/
  • 3. 'Necrotizing Fasciitis.' NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders), 28 Oct. 2019, rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/necrotizing-fasciitis/
  • 4. 'Fever: Symptoms, Causes, Care & Treatment.' Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/10880-fever
  • 5. 'What Is Sepsis?' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Jan. 2021, www.cdc.gov/sepsis/what-is-sepsis.html
Medical Expert Medical Expert

Necrotizing fasciitis, better known as flesh-eating bacteria, is a rare but serious medical condition that can spread quickly. Although various types of bacteria can cause the condition, group A strep or Streptococcus pyogenes is a common culprit.

Symptoms may begin with a single red, warm and swollen area on the skin, which expands rapidly and develops into ulcers and pus-oozing lesions. A person may also experience a fever along with fatigue, nausea, diarrhea and dizziness. These symptoms can quickly progress to septic shock and organ failure without immediate medical attention. Hospitalization, IV antibiotics and surgery to remove infected tissue may be necessary.1‘Necrotizing Fasciitis: Acting Fast Is Key.’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 Dec. 2019, www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/diseases-public/necrotizing-fasciitis.html,2‘Get the Facts about Necrotizing Fasciitis: The Flesh-Eating Disease.’ APIC, apic.org/monthly/alerts/get-the-facts-about-necrotizing-fasciitis-the-flesh-eating-disease/

Red, Swollen Skin

The name describes what the bacteria does and what area of the body it commonly affects. Necrotizing refers to the death and decay of living tissue, while fasciitis is an inflammation of the tissue under the skin, or fascia.

A common early sign is red, warm and swollen skin. This can occur at the site of a minor cut, an injection, a surgical incision or another skin opening. In rare instances, necrotizing fasciitis can develop due to an injury that doesn't break the skin. As the infection spreads, the skin in the affected area may turn blue or black as tissue dies.

Flesh Eating Bacteria

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