November 2008, Volume 38 Number 11 , p 23 - 23
Snow, Michelle RN, BSN, MSHR, MSPH, PhD
Issue: Volume 38(11), November 2008, p 23 Publication Type: [Department: upFront: COMBATING INFECTION] Publisher: © 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Institution(s): Michelle Snow is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Administrative Services at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.
KNOWN IN THE MEDIA as the “flesh-eating” infection, necrotizing fasciitis (NF) is a soft tissue infection that spreads from the subcutaneous tissue into the fascia. It's commonly caused by group A Streptococcus (GAS), but other bacteria may be involved. The infection is characterized by widespread, rapidly progressing tissue destruction. About 9,000 to 11,500 cases of invasive GAS disease occur each year in the United States, resulting in 1,000 to 1,800 deaths annually. 1 Though rare, NF can lead to septicemia and multiorgan failure. The mortality is 25%. 2
Many people carry GAS on their skin or in their throat or nose without symptoms, ...