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Press Release

Necrotising fasciitis case under investigation

15 August 2012

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a case of necrotising fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) involving an 80-year-old man with underlying illness.

The patient lives in Kwun Tong. He presented with fever and chills on August 11. He developed redness on his left lower leg on the next day, and was admitted to United Christian Hospital. He was diagnosed as having necrotising fasciitis. Above-knee amputation for left leg was performed on August 13.

The patient is now in serious condition. His left lower leg deep wound swab yielded Vibrio vulnificus, a type of bacteria causing necrotising fasciitis.

He did not have recent travel history. His home contact is asymptomatic. Investigation continues.

A CHP spokesman said necrotising fasciitis is a serious bacterial infection of the soft tissue and fascia. It can destroy tissue and cause death within 12 to 24 hours after infection.

People are reminded to adopt the following preventive measures:

* Avoid foot/leg contact with dirty water when visiting a wet market;
* Avoid exposure of open wounds or broken skin to seawater or salty water;
* Wounds should be thoroughly cleaned and properly covered; and
* Wear thick rubber gloves when handling raw shellfish.

Patients should seek medical advice promptly if they develop symptoms and signs of infection such as increasing redness, pain and swelling.

14 August 2012