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Flesh Eating Bacteria Disease Sparks Alarm Across Japan. What Are Its Symptoms?

A new ‘flesh-eating bacteria’ has sparked alarm across Japan, with nearly 1,000 cases reported. As of June 2, a total of 977 people have been infected by Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome (STSS), a severe disease caused by the same bacteria. What is Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome? STSS, or Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome, is a rare […]

A new ‘flesh-eating bacteria’ has sparked alarm across Japan, with nearly 1,000 cases reported. As of June 2, a total of 977 people have been infected by Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome (STSS), a severe disease caused by the same bacteria.

What is Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome?

STSS, or Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome, is a rare but severe bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this infection occurs when these bacteria penetrate deep tissues and enter the bloodstream, releasing toxins that trigger a rapid and dangerous response in the body. Although it is uncommon for someone with STSS to directly transmit the infection to others, the CDC warns that less severe group A strep infections can escalate to STSS if left untreated. Prompt medical attention is crucial to prevent the progression of these infections to the more serious and life-threatening condition of STSS.

What are the symptoms of STSS?

The initial symptoms of STSS include fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting. However, within 24-48 hours, it can lead to low blood pressure, organ failure, rapid heart rate, and fast breathing. Group A Streptococcus (GAS) usually causes strep throat in children, but in adults, it can lead to serious symptoms like limb pain, swelling, fever, and low blood pressure. This can quickly worsen to tissue death, breathing problems, organ failure, and sometimes death, especially in people over 50.

How to Prevent STSS?

The best way to prevent the disease is to practice good hygiene, like washing hands regularly and covering your mouth while you cough and sneeze. Additionally, caring for wounds properly and seeking medical treatment when necessary is essential.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome (STSS) requires a series of tests, including blood tests to detect group A strep bacteria and to assess organ function. The CDC explains that a diagnosis is confirmed when a patient exhibits a group A strep infection, low blood pressure, and signs of failure in two or more organs, such as the kidneys or liver. Treatment includes strong antibiotics administered through an IV to kill the bacteria. In severe cases, surgery may be required to amputate infected muscles or body parts.

 

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