Flesh Eating Disease (Necrotizing Fasciitis)

flesh eating bacteria image 1

Flesh Eating Disease Misnomer

Flesh eating disease is a misnomer because the bacteria that cause this condition do not really consume tissues. The bacteria are responsible for the damage of muscle and toxins by releasing the toxins, which are much like streptococcal pyogenic exotoxins.

These pyogenes are responsible for manufacturing exotoxin identified as super antigen. The toxin can activate T-cells that are non-specific, which can lead to overload of cytokines and extreme systemic diseases. [1]

Flesh Eating Bacteria and MRSA

MRSA, also referred to as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a very severe Staph infection. Flesh eating disorder or necrotizing fasciitis is an infection that may be a result of MRSA.

In the early stage, MRSA may appear as a pimple or small bruise, just like a spider bite. It may look like a little red bump, which may progress to boil.

Signs of MRSA are redness, inflammation, pain and possible drainage from the affected site. A person suffering from MRSA may feel nauseous, lethargic and feverish. The affected area seems to expand and affect the surrounding parts.

To get the proper diagnosis of MRSA, the patient may undergo a clinical culture ordered by a physician.

Patient suspected of having MRSA may be put under a strong antibiotic.

If you believe that the person has MRSA, it’s important to get proper diagnosis and treatment. The rate of mortality of MRSA is around 4% to 10%.

If not treated, the MRSA may lead to necrotizing fasciitis, which may lead to death of a part of a tissue.

At present, 17 cases of MRSA are associated with necrotizing fasciitis. [2]

Flesh Eating Virus

Flesh eating virus may appear mild at first but it may progress and the result can be fatal. One of the most common kinds of this flesh eating virus is the group-A Streptococcus or also referred as Strep A. It is the same bacteria that lead to strep throat.

The bacteria may be spread from one person to another. Once it entered the body, it will instantly go and affect the tissue, skin and all the fats in the affected area. If not treated, it may lead to organ failure and even death.

To survive the condition, treatment is required right away. The possible treatments are high doses of antibiotics. Antibiotics that are commonly given are clindamycin and penicillin to go against the bacteria. To avoid the spread of the disease, removal of the dying flesh may be needed.

Flesh eating bacteria may move so fast, that it can start as a minor bruise and by thirty minutes, the whole leg is already affected.

The condition is very rare. Around 500 cases of flesh eating disease are reported a year. [3]

Timeline of Symptoms

Flesh eating disease is not like any disease that silently affects a person without any symptoms. The first symptom of this serious disease is the usual pain from injury. The disorder may worsen as the affected area gets disproportioned as to the wound.

The skin may appear hot, inflamed and red. The patient may also undergo diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, fever and chills. These symptoms may appear in an accelerated timeline. [3]

  • Within the first 24-hour period. This disease may affect a person out of the blue. Normally, it may start through a bruise or a cut. During the initial 24 hours, the patient may complain of pain in the wound, which may be excruciating. Symptoms of flu are also observed.
  • Within 3-4 days. The affected area may get inflamed and purple rash may appear. Dark marks may start to appear into blisters, which may contain dark fluid. As the disease progresses, the affected skin may show signs of dying with flaky, white or dark appearance.
  • 4-5 days of fighting the bacteria. The body may enter into toxic shock syndrome, which means the toxins from the bacteria flow in the body. The blood pressure may drop and the patient may become unconscious.

Necrotizing Fasciitis Pictures

flesh eating bacteria picture

Picture 1 : Flesh Eating Bacteria

Image Source: Shafaqna.com

flesh eating disease picture

Picture 2 : Necrotizing Fasciitis

Image Source: medicinenet.com

flesh eating bacteria image 1

Picture 3 : flesh eating bacteria on right leg

Image Source: flesheatingbacteriapictures.com

flesh eating bacteria image 2

Picture 4 : flesh eating bacteria image 2

Image Source: flesheatingbacteriapictures.com

Is Flesh Eating Bacteria Contagious?

Flesh eating bacteria is considerably contagious. It can spread by kissing or touching an open and infected wound. However, you must be similarly compromised in order to get infected. If you must be in close contact with someone who has the disease, inform your doctor. You will likely be put under antibiotic therapy to prevent acquiring this disease. [5]

Treatment of Flesh Eating Bacteria

This disease requires immediate hospitalization after diagnosis. Intravenous antibiotics are given to the patient right away. The type of antibiotics may vary depending on the bacteria that caused the infection, however, most doctors believe that different antibiotics are administered at the same time protect the patient from MRSA or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Antibiotic susceptibility studies are made in the laboratory. The infecting organism is isolated from the patient. This can help the doctor to determine the best antibiotic that is needed to treat the specific patient.

Surgery is also required to lessen the risk of morbidity and mortality. A surgeon may collect sample of tissues for culture to determine the organism.

Other treatments may be required like breathing tube and intravenous administration of fluids. Drugs that can support the cardiovascular system may also be given. [6]


Preventing Flesh Eating Bacteria

To protect you and your family from flesh eating bacteria, follow hygienic practices: [3]

  • Caring for your wounds is essential. Keep the wounds clean, since bacteria are the root cause of the sufferer’s agony.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid contact with people suffering from diseases related to sore throat.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. Remember that you have to turn away from others when you sneeze.
  • Throw out used tissues.

Aside from these hygienic procedures, it is important that you consult with your doctor when you feel excruciating pain and other symptoms in your wounds.


1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necrotizing_fasciitis

2. http://voices.yahoo.com/mursa-mrsa-flesh-eating-bacteria-2042826.html?cat=70

3. http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/problems/medical/flesh-eating-bacteria.htm

4. http://flesheatingbacteriapictures.com/

5. http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/susan-evans-md/what-flesh-eating-skin-disease

6. http://www.medicinenet.com/necrotizing_fasciitis/page5.htm#what_is_the_treatment_for_necrotizing_fasciitis

7. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/flesh-eating-disease-survivor-aimee-copeland-loves-life/story?id=17208957

8. http://fox8.com/2013/05/17/flesh-eating-bacteria-survivor-uses-bionic-hands/


  1. Strep is a Bacteria—not a virus. I recommended you remove the term “Flesh Eating Virus”…the problem is not caused by a virus. It is a bacteria.

    Flesh Eating Virus

    Flesh eating virus may appear mild at first but it may progress and the result can be fatal. One of the most common kinds of this flesh eating virus is the group-A Streptococcus or also referred as Strep A. It is the same bacteria that lead to strep throat.Flesh Eating Virus


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