Flesh-eating Bacteria: What Is It?


Flesh eating bacteria also known as necrotizing fasciitis is a condition that damages the connective tissue under the skin. It is a serious, rapid spreading bacterial infection that can be fatal. The term “necrotizing” describes an action that results in the death of another. Fascia is the subcutaneous (under the skin) tissue that surrounds muscles and nerves and holds everything, including fat and blood vessels, in place. The term “fasciitis” refers to inflammation of the fascia.

Necrotizing fasciitis is a type of necrotizing soft tissue infection (NSTI) [1]. Any NSTI, including necrotizing fasciitis, is referred to by some as the “flesh-eating disease.” Other examples of NSTIs are necrotizing myositis and necrotizing cellulitis.

Every year, between 600 and 700 cases are diagnosed in the U.S. and about 25% to 30% of those cases result in death. Although it is not common in children.