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Necrotizing Fasciitis


has largely been described as a rare but realinfection or disease condition that results in the destruction anddeath of subcutaneous skin tissue. This condition is mainly caused bygroup A streptococcus bacteria, which has also been largely referredto as the flesh eating bacteria (Rello, 2007). It is critical to notethat the condition can also be caused by other types of bacteria. Dueto the name of the bacteria that commonly causes the infection, thecondition has come to known as the flesh eating bacteria condition ordisease. There are other names used to refer to this condition suchas Fournier`s gangrene and necrotizing cellulitis. This is a rarebut very serious condition, which can destroy and kill fat, skin andthe tissues that cover the muscle in an extremely short period(Roemmele &amp Batdorff, 2009).

Research has indicated that in every one of four people who get thisdisease die from it. Interesting is the fact a vast majority of thepeople who get this infection are normally in good health, but mostlyhave a weak immune system. It is imperative to note that peopleexperiencing any kind of chronic ailments such as cancer and diabetesare susceptible to the infection. Dr. B. Wilson named this conditionas necrotizing fasciitis in 1952 (Roemmele &amp Batdorff, 2009). Itis, however imperative to note that the condition was described asearly as in the 1840s. Research has indicated that this conditionmight have been existent in prior years but was never discovered.This research paper seeks to analyze the causes of the condition,signs and symptoms of the condition, diagnosis and treatment. Thepaper will also provide examples of notable cases of the condition.

Causes of

is mainly caused by group Astreptococcus bacteria. However, research has indicated that therehas been other known bacteria that cause . Theother bacteria that are known to cause the infection includeaeromonas hydrophila, clostridium, E. coli, klebsiella andstaphylococcus aureus it is vital to point out that for thesebacteria to enter the body and infect an individual with thiscondition, there must be some opening on the skin through where thebacteria enters. Such an open can even be an extremely small openingsuch as a needle perforation. Such body openings may occur throughinjuries or surgery (Roemmele &amp Batdorff, 2009).

Medical research has also indicated that this infection does notoccur to common healthy people. A vast majority of the people who areinfected with this condition have a weak immune system, which is as aresult of other infections such as HIV and Aids, cancer and diabetes.However, it is imperative to note that any person whether health ornot, young or old, male or female there is no one who is immune tothis condition (Roemmele &amp Batdorff, 2009). Once the bacteria getinto the body, they reproduce at an extremely high rate. Once theyreproduce, the release toxins and enzymes which are responsible forthe destruction of the body tissues and the superficial fascia. Theenzymes and toxins find their way into the blood stream where theycause sepsis and also infect other organs of the body.

Extensive medical research has also found out that fungi may causethis disease. However, cases of necrotizing fasciitis that are as aresult of a fungi are rare. The key cause as mentioned above isbacteria. Although it has been pointed out above that there has to bean opening in the body for the bacteria to get in, there has beeninstances where the condition has been reported without any apparentinjuries or openings found on the body. It is vital to note that theindividual or the victim must come into contact with the bacteria.This may happen through contact with a carrier or through thebacteria being present in the said individual (Roemmele &ampBatdorff, 2009). Once the toxins and enzymes destroy the skin tissueand other body organs, a healthy person can face death in a matter ofdays. Therefore, it is clear that the most critical part ofeliminating this condition is to seek medical attention as early aspossible.

Researchers has also found out that an individual can contact thedisease from an insect bite. The bacteria is transmitted from theinsect into the individual through the bite. In addition, a woundedperson who comes into contact with ocean water or raw saltwater maycontract the condition. It is critical to note that a muscle strainor bruise, which might not be accompanied by a skin break can causethe condition to occur (Roemmele &amp Batdorff, 2009). The keyfactor in the causation of the necrotizing fasciitis is thetransmission of the bacteria to a victim. The bacteria can be passedon from one person infected with the condition to another who is notinfected. This can, however, only occur when the two individuals havean extremely close contact such as touching the wound of theindividual infected with the bacteria. It is imperative to note thatthe exposed person must have a would or have an extremely weak immunesystem

Signs and symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis

’ symptoms develop extremely fast andmay be eminent within a period of 24 hours. Medical practitionershave argued that this one of the clues that individuals affected bythe condition may use to seek medical attention as fast as possible.The signs and symptoms start to show 24 hours after the injury on theskin (Roemmele &amp Batdorff, 2009). One of the main symptoms andsign of is the sharp and extreme pain from theinjury that the victim experiences. The affected areas especially theextremities such as the legs produce severe and sudden pain to thevictim. The extremities are normally affected by the condition butother parts of the body can also be affected such as the genitals.

This condition is also manifested by the presence of fever andfatigue in the victim. Additionally, the condition has been said tocause nausea, vomiting and fatigue. There are also symptoms which aresaid to be similar to those associated with flu. The diseasecondition also causes the blisters in the affected area such as thearea to become reddish, swell and get filled with fluids. It is,however, imperative to point that the inflammation of blisters maynot be a symptom if the infection has occurred deep in the tissue(Rello, 2007). In the affected area, one may notice that the skin isscaly and peels off. The skin over the infected area may also getdiscolored as a result of death of the tissue or what is largelyknown as gangrene.

has also been associated with a reduction inthe blood pressure. As a consequence of this, the affectedindividuals may manifest signs of shock. This may come in the form offainting, dizziness or confusion. It is noteworthy to point out thatthe shock condition is apparent when a victim gets up from sitting orlying down. Due to the immense loss of fluids by the body, the victimbecomes extremely dehydrated. As a result, victims are in extremeneed of water since they experience immeasurable thirst. Urination byvictims also reduce drastically as a result of dehydration (Roemmele&amp Batdorff, 2009). The condition also leads to low blood pressureafter four to five days of infection. It is also noted that the bodyexperiences extremely high temperature five days after the infection.It is also pointed out that rashes may occur all over the body as aresult of the toxins being released. However, these signs may or maynot occur.

The symptoms and signs of necrotizing fasciitis can be confused withthose of flu since they are similar. More often than not, there hasbeen cases of misdiagnosis where the deadly condition is misconstruedto be flu. This has led to numerous deaths considering that theeffects of the disease are rapid. It is therefore vital forindividuals who suspect such symptoms to report the cases to medicalpractitioners as fast possible (Perkin, 2008).

Preventive measures for necrotizing fasciitis

It has come to the attention of medical practitioners thatthere is no pure preventive measure for necrotizing fasciitis. Thedisease or the infection has largely been known to be spontaneous.However, keeping the entire skin intact without any burns, cuts orbruises has been viewed as a significant way of preventing entry ofbacteria which cause the infection (Perkin, 2008). Cleanliness on allbody parts has been regarded as another way of preventing theinfection. Lastly, respect for other can largely reduce theinfections which have become rampant especially in the United States.In case an individual knows he is having the bacteria, it is vital toavoid contact with other people who are healthy.

Treatment for necrotizing fasciitis

Treatment for necrotizing fasciitis needs to be done as earlyas possible once the infection has been confirmed. Treatment includesthe extraction of body fluids, which are tested for the presence of abacteria that might be causing the infection. It is vital to notethat treatment depends on the level of infection at the time thetreatment starts (Zaoutis, 2007). However, treatment starts withantibiotic therapy to kill the bacteria causing the infection anddamage to the tissue. In cases where there are parts of the tissuethat are dead, an experienced and competitive surgeon must remove thedead tissue. This is aimed at stopping more damage to more tissue.

In addition, there is need for medications to raise the bloodpressure for the victims. There are extreme instances where thevictim his or her limbs or even legs amputated to prevent furtherdamage.

It is evident from this research that this a deadly medicalcondition whose symptoms and signs can be confused with those of flu.It is estimated that 25% of all patients suffering from necrotizingfasciitis die from the infection (Rello, 2007). Early intervention isimperative in curbing this condition. The vast majority of cases havebeen seen in the United States. This resulted in the formation of TheNational Foundation in 1997 to provideinformation and help in the prevention and treatment measures.


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Perkin, R. M. (2008). Pediatric hospital medicine: Textbook ofinpatient management. Philadelphia: Wolters KluwerHealth/Lippincott Williams &amp Wilkins.

Rello, J. (2007). Infectious diseases in critical care: With 137tables. Berlin: Springer.

Roemmele, J. A., &amp Batdorff, D. (2009). Surviving the&quotflesh-eating bacteria&quot: Understanding, preventing,treating, and living with the effects of necrotizing fasciitis.New York: Avery.

Zaoutis, L. B. (2007). Comprehensive pediatric hospital medicine.Philadelphia: Mosby/Elsevier.

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