Necrotizing fasciitis is reasonably rare, however cases the the perhaps deadly an illness may it is in spreading.

You are watching: Flesh eating bacteria how do you get it


As water temperatures rise and more Americans struggle the beach, it’s not unusual to see an increase in situations of flesh-eating bacteria, or necrotizing fasciitis. This summer has actually been no exception, however climate adjust may it is in contributing to rise in infections in an ext parts that the country.

According to an short article published June 17, 2019, in The brand-new England newspaper of Medicine, bacteria connected with necrotizing fasciitis (known together Vibrio vulnificus) typically grow follow me the southeast coast of the united States and also have to be “previously found as much north as the Chesapeake Bay.” The bacteria prosper in braided waters v temperatures above 55 degrees F, i m sorry is why the microbes room usually found in Gulf claims such as Louisiana and also Texas.

But a study released June 18, 2019, in the newspaper Annals of interior Medicine cited five cases further north, in people exposed to water and also shellfish in Delaware just between brand-new Jersey and Delaware.

“There have been some situations reported in the center Atlantic states, and that’s led to speculation on whether the warming ocean has allowed the bacteria come wander increase the East coastline farther 보다 it generally gets,” states William Schaffner, MD, an infectious an illness specialist and a professor of precautionary medicine and health plan at the Vanderbilt University college of medication in Nashville, Tennessee. “There might be a brand-new ecologic niche because that this bacteria.”

What type of Bacteria reason Necrotizing Fasciitis?

Vibrio bacteria are one group that can cause necrotizing fasciitis. Bacteria called group A streptococcus (group A strep) are considered the most common reason of infections, according to the Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC estimates that there are 700 to 1,200 instances of group A strep necrotizing fasciitis infections each year, however only a little percentage room invasive (spreading to healthy and balanced tissue).

Other bacteria that may reason the infection include:

How perform You gain Infected through Flesh-Eating Bacteria?

Flesh-eating bacteria get in the body v breaks in the skin, together as cut or insect bites, but can likewise be ingested by eat contaminated seafood. The bacteria attack and kill the skin, fat simply beneath the skin, and fasciae, thin tissue that encloses muscles or organs.

“The injury top top the surface deserve to appear reasonably benign through a little redness and also a small swelling that the skin,” claims Dr. Schaffner. “But the damage going on underneath the skin have the right to be rather extensive.”

Necrotizing fasciitis is fairly rare and seldom contagious. However an infected person needs to obtain treatment as quickly as feasible because the epidemic spreads really quickly. Left untreated, it can lead come sepsis, lose of limbs, or also death.

How Is Flesh-Eating Bacteria Treated?

Patients who do not respond to treatment with antibiotics may require one or much more surgeries come remove any dead tissue and stop the epidemic from spreading further.

“Sometimes the muscle that requirements to be removed can be really destructive, and people room left v disabilities afterward,” says Schaffner. “You can’t grow a new leg muscle. If that’s destroyed, that gone; and you have actually to get in rehabilitation.”

According to the CDC, as much as 1 in 3 instances of necrotizing fasciitis room fatal.

Last month, 78-year-old Jerry Sebek became infected during a fishing trip close to Palacios, Texas, and also died 2 weeks later, every an short article published in June 23, 2019, in Sebek’s daughter said that her father experienced chills, vomiting, disorientation, and also labored breathing, which were originally diagnosed as indicators of warm exhaustion.

More recently, 56-year-old Gary Evans to be diagnosed through necrotizing fasciitis after ~ going crabbing follow me the Gulf of Mexico on the 4th of July. Evans, whose wife said had been in good health before the infection, died four days later, follow to an short article published July 12, 2019, in the Victoria Advocate.

What are the Signs and also Symptoms the Necrotizing Fasciitis?

Necrotizing fasciitis is hardly ever contagious, but it deserve to be tricky come diagnose because its symptom resemble other conditions or varieties of infection.

Early symptoms might include:

A red or puffy area of skin the spreads quicklySevere pain, consisting of pain beyond the area the the skin the is red or swollenFever

Later symptom include:

Changes in the color of the skinPus or oozing indigenous the infected areaDizzinessFatigueDiarrhea or nausea

Proper care of any cuts or injuries deserve to prevent infection, and also the CDC advises people with an open wound or skin epidemic to avoid warm tubs, swim pools, and also natural body of water, such together lakes and oceans.

See more: Heather Childers, Fox And Friends First Heather Childers, Fox & Friends First

Schaffner warns that children, the elderly, and people through a dilute immune mechanism are at greater risk of infection.

“If you execute suspect you have actually flesh-eating disease, the sooner you acquire treatment the better,” that says. “This article goes out not to simply patients and also the general public, yet to healthcare providers as well.”