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Flesh Destroying Virus hits UK

Jean J. Lee jjl at ewald.mbi.ucla.edu
Thu May 26 14:04:21 EST 1994

In article <R.Burge.136.001086F5 at bay.cc.kcl.ac.uk> Richard Burge,
R.Burge at bay.cc.kcl.ac.uk writes:
>compared to deaths from cancer, heart attacks, car accidents or whatever.

Re: Flesh destroying virus...
Here's what I heard on the radio this morning:

5/26/94  On NPR'S "Morning Edition", Alex Chadwick spoke to Dr. Richway
(sorry, didn't get first name; all quotes are Dr. Richway's words), a
microbiologist at the University College Hospital in London.  He
confirmed that there had been at least 10 deaths in England, but that
doctors insist that this occurence "has NOT reached epidemic
proportions".  This "rare condition" has been "known to medical science
for well over 100 years", and by chance "a small cluster of this rare
condition  appeared, giving impression of an outbreak".  Isolated cases
have been reported in Norway and Holland.  7 cases were diagnosed within
a 25-mile radius in Gloucestershire.  The resulting effect resembles  a
gangrenous condition from which patients were saved by "amputation of the
infected tissue."  The deaths in Gloucestershire were found to have been
caused by "different strains"  (Dr. Richway didn't elaborate), so it's
not a contagion.  This bacteria (streptococcus) is found in the general
population and usually does nothing more serious than cause a sore
throat.  The mutated form responsible for the deaths appears to attack
only when certain conditions are involved.  These conditions include
combinations of [having had recent] "surgery, an underlying immune
suppression problem, like cancer", and/or a having "severe skin problems"
not related to [strep].  Dr. Richway stressed that this mutated did not
seem affect healthy people.

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