Necrotizing fasciitis is an infection moving throughout Florida called “flesh-eating bacteria.” The infection can spread rapidly if it is not handled abruptly. Bacteria can get inside your body through insect bites, abrasions, wounds and minor cuts. Also, if a person has had an injury or surgery recently, they can become affected by this disease. Brian Clark, a Floridian, said he washes his hands thoroughly to ensure he is protected. “It’s always important to wash your hands at all costs,” Clark said. “The hands are a stomping ground for bacteria.” The infection affects fat tissue, muscle and skin. There are cases that it is unaware of how the infection even started. There are several types of bacteria associated with the disease, such as staphylococcus, vibrio vulnificus and group A Streptococcus. Below the skin, there is a layer of connective tissue called superficial fascia that becomes infected and causes necrotizing fasciitis. Donnie O’Neal, a Florida State University senior from Boca Raton, Fla., said he makes sure he always uses a clean regimen. “I make sure I use gloves and make sure I don’t have any abrasions, cuts or anything,” O’Neal said. “Even when I’m at work dealing with money, I make sure I avoid putting my hands near my face.”
The symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis are dizziness, fever, diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms, dehydration, intense pain in the area of the wound, unconsciousness, blood pressure and other severe symptoms. Often times advanced pain and symptoms arise, such as peeling, foul odors with blisters and swelling. According to the Florida Department of Health, there are ways to ensure you are protected, including being covered and wearing gloves when handling shellfish, cooking shellfish to perfection, not eating raw shellfish and oysters, wearing closed in shoes on the beach to prevent cuts among other precautions. There is a process for treatment for those impacted by the disease and have to undergo surgery depending on the stage stance. The treatment consists of blood transfusions, amputations, breathing aids, heart monitoring and more. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, some cases are unlikely unreported but there are between 650 to 850 necrotizing fasciitis cases produced by group A strep.