What is Necrotizing Myositis / Fasciitis?

Necrotizing Myositis, also known as necrotizing fasciitis and sometimes referred to as a “flesh-eating bug”, is a very serious but rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly and kills the body’s soft tissue and fascia (a sheath of tissue covering the muscle).

Urgent medical care is required because Necrotizing Myositis is a potentially fatal disease.

Signs and Symptoms

Early signs of Necrotizing Myositis/Fasciitis are easily missed and are often confused for a minor, superficial infection.

Overtime, as the infection rapidly spreads, pain and illness will worsen and become very severe. By about 4-5 days, the individual is very ill with a severe drop in blood pressure and high temperature.

Necrotizing Myositis/Fasciitis signs and symptoms:

  • Pain or soreness, similar to that of a pulled muscle
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as nausea, fever, diarrhea, dizziness and general illness
  • A fine, crackling sensation under the skin (crepitus)
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Redness and warmth
  • Intense thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Rash
  • Blisters filled with dark, foul-smelling fluid
  • Skin discoloration, peeling and flakiness.

Critical symptoms

• Altered levels of consciousness
• Unconsciousness
• Dangerously low blood pressure
• High temperature
• Toxic shock

What causes Necrotizing Myositis/Fasciitis?

Necrotizing myositis is caused by several kinds of bacteria entering the body, usually by injury to the skin.
(Small cut, scrape, graze, pinprick, injection, insect bites, surgical wound)

How is Necrotizing Myositis/Fasciitis diagnosed?

  • Surgery to remove damaged or dead tissue and fluids in order to stop the spread of infection.
  • Medicines (such as antibiotics)
  • Procedures to treat complications such as shock, breathing problems, and organ failure
  • Cardiac monitoring and breathing aids
  • Amputating limbs or removing organs may be done to save a patient’s life, depending on how severe the infection is and where in the body it has spread
  • Blood transfusions
  • High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT).

What research is being done?

Research is ongoing to learn more about Necrotizing Myositis and test potential treatments. The details for a number of studies related to ‘necrotizing soft tissue infections’ can be found on the clinicaltrials.gov website.

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