Necrotising fasciitis case under investigation

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a case of necrotising fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) involving an 87-year-old woman.

     The woman, with underlying illness and living in Kwai Tsing District, sustained injuries to her left leg on July 22. She then developed pain and swelling of the left leg the next day and was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital.

     Surgery was performed on July 23 to remove the dead tissue. She is currently in the intensive care unit and is now in critical condition.

     Laboratory tests on her blood culture and necrotic tissue yielded Vibrio vulnificus, a type of bacteria causing necrotising fasciitis.

     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 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.

Ends/Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Issued at HKT 18:48