Necrotizing Fasciitis (Flesh-Eating Bacteria) - Topic Overview
How is necrotizing fasciitis diagnosed?
will diagnose your infection based on how suddenly your symptoms started and
how quickly the infection is spreading. The infected tissue may be tested for
bacteria. You also may need
CT scan, or an
MRI to look for injury to your organs or to find out
how much the infection has spread.
How is it treated?
Early treatment of necrotizing fasciitis is critical. The sooner treatment
begins, the more likely you will recover from the infection and avoid
serious complications, such as limb amputation or death. You may be treated in the intensive care unit (ICU) at the hospital.
- Surgery that removes infected tissue and fluids
to stop the spread of infection. Surgery is almost always needed. Most people need several surgeries to control the infection. Removing limbs (amputation) or organs may be done to save the person's life, depending on how severe the infection is and where it has spread.
- Medicines (such as antibiotics). These kill the bacteria
causing the infection.
- Procedures to treat complications such as
shock, breathing problems, and organ failure.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
What if you have been near someone who has the disease?
Necrotizing fasciitis is very rare. Bacteria that cause the disease
usually don't cause infection unless they enter the body through a cut or
other break in the skin.
If you have been in close contact with
someone who has necrotizing fasciitis, your doctor may give you an
antibiotic to help reduce your chances of getting the
infection. If you notice any symptoms of infection (such as pain, swelling, redness, or fever) after you've been in close contact with someone who has necrotizing fasciitis, see your doctor right away.
To help prevent any kind of infection, wash your hands
often. And always keep cuts, scrapes, burns, sores, and bites clean.