Essay: Necrotizing Fasciitis (Flesh-Eating Bacteria)

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This essay is on Necrotizing Fasciitis. Necrotizing fasciitis is a bacterial infection that can demolish skin and the soft tissues beneath it, including fat and the tissue that covers the fascia, a type of muscle. NF can occur in an extremity following a minor trauma, or after some other type of opportunity for the bacteria to enter the body such as surgery.

Necrotizing fasciitis is a bacterial infection that can demolish skin and the soft tissues beneath it, including fat and the tissue that covers the fascia, a type of muscle. NF can occur in an extremity following a minor trauma, or after some other type of opportunity for the bacteria to enter the body such as surgery. Because these tissues often die, a person with necrotizing fasciitis is sometimes said to be infected with “flesh-eating” bacteria. Serious illness and shock can develop in addition to tissue damage. Necrotizing fasciitis can lead to organ failure and, sometimes, death.

Another tabloid rumor, or something people should be losing sleep over? Dating back centuries, the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes has been infecting humans with ailments ranging from minor skin infections such as impetigo, to a common illness known as strep throat. However, in rare instances the bacteria can invade the body with wrath, causing a very serious infection called narcotizing fasciitis, also dubbed ≥the flesh-eating bacteria≈ (Todar, 2002).

The infection often comes on suddenly, may spread swiftly, and can quickly become life threatening. Instant medical care in a hospital is always essential. Most people will need surgery to stop the infection from spreading.

The bacteria begin to rapidly multiply, causing antibodies to recognize foreign invaders, and begin an immune response releasing cytokines into the system to signal white blood cells to engulf the bacteria. The bacteria are at the same time, however, releasing exotoxins that damage the tissue and allow it to spread at an incredible rate throughout the body. When the immune system becomes suppressed, or can no longer fight off the bacteria, a person develops necrotizing fasciitis (Seachrist, 1995).

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