Flesh Eating Bacteria

Richard Burge R.Burge at bay.cc.kcl.ac.uk
Mon Jun 13 09:27:53 EST 1994


In article <1994Jun10.183313.12131 at news.yale.edu> FRICHARD at biomed.med.yale.edu (Frank Richardson) writes:
>Does anyone have any more detailed info on the recently media-exposed "flesh
>eating bacteria"? I heard on one channel that it was a strep, and staph on
>another channel and none mentioned what treatment was being used (i.e. if 
there
>was resistance to any antibiotics). Has this bug ever been reported before? I
>have never heard of it until about two weeks ago.>Thanks!

If it's the same as the recent outbreaks in the UK, it's a beta-haemolytic 
strep A. It is still subsceptible to antibiotic treatment (penicillin, 
cephalosporins), but appears to be more virulent. It may be producing more 
"flesh-eating" enzymes for example (various proteases, DNAases, haluronidase - 
ECM gets broken down). One idea is that it's been infected with a lysogenic 
phage of strep. A, hence the confusion in the British press as to whether it 
is a bacterium or a virus!

Apart from the increased virulence (if any), it's nothing new - just hospital 
gangrene, first described in the literature in 1924...


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Richard Burge         | e-mail:
King's College London |  R.Burge at bay.cc.kcl.ac.uk
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