Friday 23rd August 2019
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25 cases of flesh-eating bacteria reported in Thailand

Thailand’s Nan Hospital said on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 that 25 cases of flesh-eating bacteria, necrotising fasciitis, were diagnosed in July, with one patient seriously ill in the intensive care unit.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Photo credit: AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI / Getty Images

Dr Pongthep Wongwatcharapaiboon, Deputy Director of Nan Hospital in Thailand’s north, said the hospital had seen 25 flesh eating bacteria infections in July, compared to two cases reported in June.

“Most of the patients are farmers, who have been ploughing in their muddy fields and got some wounds on their skins but failed to heal.

“As quickly as the bacteria was spreading, only half a day or so more could have made some serious life altering changes to one’s body,’’ said the doctor.

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Pongthep said this infection damages the skin and fat tissue, and then it infects the muscles and spreads widely.

“A small cut in one’s leg causes the bacteria to thrive and eat their way on the leg to the extent that antibiotics cannot act fast compared to the rate at which the bacteria move, which eventually required amputation,’’ Pongthep added.

Necrotising fasciitis is rare but it can especially affect people with low immunity, including those who take steroids and take to drink.

People with normal immunity levels should find that the wounds will heal by themselves,” the doctor said.

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He urged people who are bitten or scratched by animals, including pets, to apply basic first aid, but should also seek medical care if the wounds do not heal. 

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