Also Known As: Necrotizing Fasciitis, Flesh eating bacteria, Flesh-eating disease
Necrotizing fasciitis (NF), commonly known as flesh-eating disease or Flesh-eating bacteria syndrome, is a rare infection of the deeper layers of skin and subcutaneous tissues, easily spreading across the fascial plane within the subcutaneous tissue.
Necrotizing fasciitis is a quickly progressing and severe disease of sudden onset and is usually treated immediately with high doses of intravenous antibiotics.
Type I describes a polymicrobial infection, whereas Type II describes a monomicrobial infection. Many types of bacteria can cause necrotizing fasciitis (e.g., Group A streptococcus (Streptococcus pyogenes), Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio vulnificus, Clostridium perfringens, Bacteroides fragilis). Such infections are more likely to occur in people with compromised immune systems.
Historically, Group A streptococcus made up most cases of Type II infections. However, since as early as 2001, another serious form of monomicrobial necrotizing fasciitis has been observed with increasing frequency. In these cases, the bacterium causing it is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a strain of S. aureus that is resistant to methicillin, the antibiotic used in the laboratory that determines the bacterium's sensitivity to flucloxacillin or nafcillin that would be used for treatment clinically.