What is Flesh-Eating Bacteria?

"That was my abdomen I was looking straight into — and that was my bowels that I was looking at." This is what can happen if you are infected with flesh-eating bacteria.

Necrotizing fasciitis

What is flesh-eating bacteria? Rapper OG Mago recently revealed he's been battling a flesh-eating disease. In 2019, nearly a dozen cases have been reported in the U.S. Necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease, is an infection that kills parts of the body's soft tissue. The bacteria lives in warm waters that are above 55 degrees. It enters through cuts, scrapes, burns, insect bites, puncture wounds. The symptoms: a red or swollen area of skin that spreads quickly, fever, dizziness according to the Center of Disease Control. Potential treatments include intravenous antibiotics and surgical removal of tissue.

Necrotizing fasciitis is a lightning spread, people can lose most of the muscle tissue of an arm or a leg, for instance, or the abdominal area, all the tissues underneath the skin can be involved and have to be removed. It is disfiguring and quite problematic and take skin grafting to heal. They're devastating infections. When it progresses and deeper tissues are involved, it's just not antibiotics anymore. And, some of the consequences, the treatment almost becomes as devastating as the disease when you have to remove all that devitalized tissue.

But in severe cases, it can require amputations and even lead to death. Since 2010, 700-1,200 cases of necrotizing fasciitis have been reported each year in the U.S. Most cases of necrotizing fasciitis occur randomly. It is very rare for someone with necrotizing fasciitis to spread the infection to other people. For this reason, doctors usually do not give preventive antibiotics to close contacts of someone with necrotizing fasciitis. There are no vaccines to avoid necrotizing fasciitis. To prevent a bacterial skin infection, open wounds should be washed and covered. In case of an open wound or skin infection, it’s better to avoid spending time in hot tubs, swimming pools, lakes, rivers, oceans. Now you know!