During conversations, you might have heard some people talking about flesh eating bacteria and you were left puzzled, not knowing what these people were talking about. Well, the bacteria they were referring to, are the ones responsible for a rare skin infection that can tear down skin together with its underlying tender tissues. This disease is commonly known as Necrotizing fasciitis. It occurs in places where the skin appears to be broken such as areas where surgery has been conducted or around wounds that have been caused by cuts.
A person suffering from this condition may be subjected to fever, nausea, vomiting and sometimes diarrhea. The infected part of the skin becomes swollen, red in color, it forms blisters and severe pain is felt when touched. This pain usually appears to reduce after a day or so of infection but rapidly returns later in a more severe state. Tissue damage takes place so fast and the patient could go into a state of shock. If the patient is not attended to in a given period of time, the disease may cause death.
The flesh eating bacteria responsible for this type of skin infection are mainly the group A Streptococcus bacteria and the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria. In rare occasions, the Streptococcus bacteria release toxins that are able to damage the tender tissues found under the skin and at the same time infect them with this fatal infection. Thereafter, the infection spreads so rapidly along tissues that cover body muscles known as fascia. At times, Streptococcus bacteria can be seen to travel via the blood stream system of a person all the way to the lungs and other vital organs in the host body so as to be in a better position to cause problems.
The Vibrio vulnificus bacteria on the other hand, gets to infect the skin tissues after the wound has been exposed to sea water or come in contact with either oysters or raw salt water fish. Skin punctures coming from sea animals such as lobsters, crabs and so on, may produce an opportunity for these bacteria to infect you with Necrotizing fasciitis infection though it is important to note that, infections from these bacteria are more likely to materialize in people with severe cases of liver cirrhosis. The Vibrio vulnificus bacteria spreads their infection just like the way the Streptococcus bacteria do. However, it should be noted that, whenever the infection is spreading, it does not mean that the flesh eating bacteria are literally eat these soft tissues found beneath the skin as their name suggests. The role of these bacteria ends at the point of producing the toxins that are responsible for the damage of these tissues.
There are other flesh eating bacteria that reside in the intestines. These bacteria often attack people who have diabetes, gunshot injuries, tumors inside the lower digestive tract, intestinal surgery and sometimes, people who may have peripheral arterial health conditions. Flesh eating bacteria just like any other type of bacteria, can be treated using antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. Antibiotics should be taken with caution though. Never administer drugs to yourself without the help of your doctor.
Wangeci Kinyanjui is an expert on research and reporting on Health Matters for years. To get more information on flesh eating bacteria visit her site at FLESH EATING BACTERIA