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Flesh-Eating Bacteria Scare


There has been a barrage of media attention regarding what is commonly known as “flesh-eating” bacteria since the 1st of May after a West Georgia University coed was diagnosed with the disease. Fears about this disorder came home to our area after news stories were published about a Milledgeville man’s recent diagnosis with the same malady resulting from a cut sustained on his leg while working on a dock in Lake Sinclair. All of this has resulted in a bit of panic here in Georgia’s Lake Country. We have even received reports that some people are actually afraid to go into the waters of Lake Sinclair.

The proper name for “flesh-eating bacteria” is Necrotizing Fasciitis. There is no known way for anyone to prevent having contact with the bacteria that causes this disease. The bacteria don’t actually eat human flesh. They simply release toxins that kill the tissues in our flesh. The ability to contract the disease certainly increases when your body has an open wound or sore.  People who have immune deficiencies or have other health problems may be more vulnerable to the invading bacteria, also.

Symptoms of the infection include severe pain and swelling, fever, and redness at the wound site. If you have such symptoms you should seek professional medical assistance immediately, as the condition can spread very rapidly and is sometimes fatal.

The Center for Disease Control reports 10-15,000 incidents occur in America every year and the four incidents diagnosed in Georgia this year are hardly representative of any kind of outbreak that would justify a panic for our citizenry. Just last Christmas a man in Vancouver, B.C. was afflicted after simply pricking his finger on a pine needle as he erected the family Christmas tree. There were six cases of Necrotizing Fasciitis reported in the city of Omaha, Nebraska, just in the last month.

The aforementioned statistics should certainly belay anyone’s fears about Lake Sinclair not being safe for our community.

Below are links to the Center for Disease Control and the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation where you can find more information on this topic.

Center for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/groupastreptococcal_g.htm


National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation  http://www.nnff.org/

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