The Rise Of Flesh-Eating Bacteria

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Necrotizing fasciitis, known to the general public as a "flesh-eating infection," is a serious but rare bacterial skin infection that spreads rather quickly and kills the body's soft tissue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The disease can be caused by more than one type of bacteria. Group A Streptococcus, however, is the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis. The disease can also be caused by Klebsiella, Clostridium, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Aeromonas hydrophila. 

According to the CDC:

"Usually, infections from group A strep bacteria are generally mild and are easily treated. But in cases of necrotizing fasciitis, bacteria spread rapidly once they enter the body. They infect flat layers of a membrane known as the fascia, connective bands of tissue that surround muscles, nerves, fat, and blood vessels. The infection also damages the tissues next to the fascia. Sometimes toxins made by these bacteria destroy the tissue they infect, causing it to die. When this happens, the infection is very serious and can result in loss of limbs or death."

There are several things to consider when coming across a patient with necrotizing fasciitis: good wound care, the disease is rarely spread from person to person, symptoms can be confusing and prompt treatment is needed.

One of the most recent cases of a patient suffering from this condition is Cindy Martinez, a 34-year-old mother of two who lives just outside of Atlanta. Martinez, a former Marine, doesn't know how she contracted the disease, the Washington Post reports.

The disease has already cost her both her feet and her right hand. They were amputated last week. She is still recovering from the effects of necrotizing fasciitis.

Drills help providers prepare for emergency situations
According to the CDC, this rare disease can be caused by more than one kind of bacteria.

A former Marine is fighting her toughest battle yet: recovering from the devastating effects of flesh-eating bacteria. Cindy Martinez, a 34-year-old mother of two who lives outside Atlanta, doesn't know how she contracted necrotizing fasciitis and myositis, but it has already cost her both of her feet and her right hand.

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