As I mentioned earlier, my interest in the flesh-eating bacteria (remember that it’s a bacteria not a virus, okay?) was piqued by a news report that Michael Jackson caught the bacteria while he was undergoing surgery. Specifically, Michael was infected with the superbug MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) which can cause necrotizing fasciitis or the much-dreaded bacteria.
Here’s a Daily Mail news report from way back in 2005 about the link between MRSA and necrotizing fasciitis:
The hospital superbug MRSA can turn into a flesh-eating killer, researchers have revealed.
A study found an ‘alarming’ number of cases of MRSA causing necrotising fasciitis, a condition that destroys skin and muscle and can lead to lost limbs or death.
Doctors in the United States reviewed the records of 843 patients treated for MRSA infection and discovered 14 who had symptoms of necrotising fasciitis.
Although the condition can be caused by a number of bugs, the main culprit is Streptococcus bacteria.
MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is from a different bacteria family.
Cases of Staphylococcus producing necrotising fasciitis are extremely rare. But the American doctors found that the drug-resistant version of the bug, MRSA, was much more likely to turn flesh-eater.
“Staphylococcus aureus has been a very uncommon cause of narcotising fasciitis, but we have recently noted an alarming number of these infections caused by community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus,” the team wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Most of the patients were men with a typical age of 46. The victims, from Los Angeles, had been infected by MRSA in the community and not in hospital, where the bug is usually picked up.
All received medical and surgical treatments and none died. However the bug caused serious complications, “including the need for reconstructive surgery and prolonged stay in the intensive care unit”.
The researchers, led by Dr Loren Miller from the University of California at Los Angeles, concluded: “Necrotising fasciitis caused by community-associated MRSA is an emerging clinical entity.” [Source: Daily Mail]