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Necrotizing Fasciitis

Walter Ogston ogston at HOBBES.KZOO.EDU
Mon Jun 13 13:22:00 EST 1994

It looks like nobody has posted an answer to Rachel Parmer's enqiry about the 
bug going round that causes gangrene.  This is apparently Necrotizing Fasciitis
which my med micro book (Baron) says is caused by several types of bacteria, 
including Streptococcus pyogenes.  It is uncommon, but not all that rare.  Most
cases occur following surgery or trauma in patients with underlying small 
blood vessel disease, such as those associated with diabetes mellitus.  

So far as I can tell from newspaper reports I have seen, including the respect-
able Manchester Guardian Weekly, there is no epidemiological connection between
the cases recently reported, and different strains of Streptococcus have been 
isolated.  This probably includes the recent report of cases in the U.S.A.  
My guess is that the press has discovered a sensational disease and is digging 
up sporadic cases here and there.  

An editorial in Nature (2 June) confirms this story.  

If there is a virus involved it would have to be a temperate phage carrying 
a virulence factor.  This would be interesting.  Has anyone seen a report of
phage in these bacteria isolates? 
Walter Ogston				ogston at hobbes.kzoo.edu
Department of Biology			Phone: (616)337-7010
Kalamazoo College			Fax:   (616)337-7251
Kalamazoo, MI 49006-3295

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