Flesh-eating bacteria/Necrotising fasciitis

Flesh-eating bacteria claims 2 lives in Nagoya


NAGOYA -- Two patients died at a hospital here after being infected with deadly flesh-eating bacteria, it was learned Friday.

The patients, a 71-year-old man and a 69-year-old man reportedly died of the killer bug streptococcus pyogenes, a type of bacteria that in the most severe cases can reportedly destroy tissue as fast as surgeons can remove it.

The 71-year-old man reportedly entered Nagoya University Hospital in March last year to receive emergency treatment for pneumonia. He died about four hours after being admitted from multiple organ failure. Later tests revealed that he had become infected with the deadly bug.

The 69-year-old man was admitted into the hospital in July 2002, but died four days after entering the hospital.

Hospital officials said another 67-year-old man was also hospitalized in July, but he was released from hospital about three months later. None of the infected patients had contact with each other, and they all appeared to have contracted the bacteria separately, hospital officials said.

Three other people were diagnosed as having streptococcus pyogenes in Mie Prefecture in January this year, and one of them, a 3-year-old infant died.

About 1 million cases of the bug, sometimes also referred to as a severe invasive streptococcal infection, are reported in Japan each year, with an average of about 50 of these turning serious. Between about 30 and 40 percent of the serious cases result in death. (Mainichi Shimbun, March 14, 2003)