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Necrotizing Fasciitis

This page was reviewed or revised on Friday, October 28, 2011 2:05 PM

What is Necrotizing Fasciitis (NF)?

NF is more commonly known as “flesh-eating disease”. It is a rare illness that causes extensive tissue destruction and can lead to death. NF is a bacterial infection of the tissue which spreads very rapidly and should be treated immediately.

What causes NF and how is it spread?

NF is caused by a number of different bacteria, one of them being group A streptococcus. This is a common bacteria which causes infections, such as strep throat.

Ten to fifteen per cent of school aged children may carry group A streptococcus in their throat and have no symptoms.

While group A streptococcus is passed from person to person (by close contact with body fluids), necrotizing fasciitis is not.

What are the symptoms of NF?

NF symptoms are fever, severe pain, redness and swelling at a particular body site that spreads rapidly.

How is NF treated?

Persons with NF may need surgical removal of infected tissue and antibiotics and/or immune globulin therapy. Family members may need to start on an antibiotic as prevention.

(Source: Health Canada)

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