infectious disease round-up

Necrotizing Fasciitis (NF) & Avian Flu (H5N1)


necrotizing fasciitis or flesh-eating bacteria attacks soft tissue. There’s no known preventative measure one can take, besides “keeping your skin intact”. Some reports seem to indicate that instances of this disease are on the rise. The CDC does not officially track the numbers of patients that present with NF on a yearly basis, but based on a 1999 study 600 cases were reported, and it’s estimated that 500-1500 cases occur in the US on a yearly basis.

NF is part of the Group A streptococcus family. The non-invasive forms of this bacterium include strep throat, and impetigo.

A doctor tells of his experience with necrotizing fasciitis in April of 2004

Two women die in Johnson County, Kentucky. Kentucky Drs. have reported a 23 incident jump in NC from 2001 to 2004.

A Hawaiian man fell into sewage polluted waters of Ala Wai Boat Harbor last week and has suffered massive organ failure in addition to the amputation of his leg below the knee.

Edward Kopfman succumbed to necrotizing fasciitis on April 2nd. He’s the 9th person to become fatally infected in King County Washington this year.

Woman dies of NC in Miramichi, New Brunswick.

North Carolina woman dies of NC after hand injury.

New treatment for NC could be on the way.


Avian flu found in dead swan in Scotland

Cats may play a role in the spread and mutation of H5N1

9th person diagnosed with bird flu in Egypt appears to be stable

  1. Andrew said:

    So… what prompted this post, may I ask?

    Have you found any mention of increasing antibiotic resistance as a cause for the rise in cases of NC? I feel like the NNFF’s suggestions about cleanliness are perhaps a little overboard. Misuse and overuse of antibacterial compounds is what is causing antibiotic resistance.

  2. sarah said:

    sorry for the belated reply. i’ve been knocked on my ass sick for the past week, so i haven’t quite been up for it.

    i’m pretty fascinated in the spread of infectious diseases, in much the same way that i’m interested in social networks. if we can learn how to get a handle on the way disease is spread, and further, how each individual disease or strain thereof is communicated not only from human to human but from animal to animal, species to species and eventually species to human, then i think the better the epidemic can be handled.

    i actually did my metadata project on an infectious disease schema. my laptop at the moment is b0rked or i’d dig it up for you if you’d like to see it. it’s fairly rudimentary but fun and interesting to compile. it seems like there are some projects in the works which will be able to handle pandemic (or potential pandemic) information but of course this will rely to some degree on the entry of this information into somekind of network. therefore subject to human error both basic as well as the failure to report.

    anyway, yeah saw a couple of indications that antibiotic resistance had something to do with the increase (certainly in the increase in the related staph infections commonly found in the hospitialized), but only tentatively. bear in mind i linked to news articles and not medical papers or reports. i think that the recommendation to use antibacterial clensers is related to the same problem.

    but what do i know?

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