Necrotizing Fasciitis

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Necrotizing Fasciitis is also known as the flesh-eating disease. It is a rare disease that causes the deterioration of the flesh, causing extensive destruction of the tissues. It can kill. The disease is very uncommon and only infects about one in a million people each year in Canada. There is some concern and suggestions that cases of this disease may be on the increase. Most of these serious infections occur between the months of October and March. The good news is that fifty to seventy percent of people who get this disease recover.

When people get this illness, the symptoms are fever, severe pain, and a red, painful swelling which spreads rapidly. The disease spreads very rapidly through flesh at a rate of one inch or almost three centimetres per hour. Death can occur in just 18 hours. The layers of tissue that surround the muscle are called fascia. When the disease spreads along the layers of tissue that surround muscle, it is called Necrotizing Fasciitis. Once the disease spreads into the muscle tissue, it is called Necrotizing Myositis.

Background The first record of the disease was in France in 1783. The disease occurred throughout the 1800's and 1900's, but was usually only found in military hospitals in times of war. Some outbreaks have occurred also in civilian populations. There seemed to be some decrease in the 1940's, and then another outbreak in the 1980's. Ontario is the only province in Canada where there is statistics on serious group a streptococcal infections (including necrotizing fasciitis). These cases are reported to health authorities. Surveillance for group A streptococcus began in 1991 in Canada. In Ontario, in 1994, 19 cases of serious disease were reported to health authorities. Of those 19, six died. There were only 9 cases in 1993, and 27 cases in 1992, and 25 cases in 1991. Cause Flesh eating disease is caused by several bacteria, one of them is group A streptococcus. A bacteria that causes sore throats and strep throats in kids, as well as in teenagers,