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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 a 66-year-old man with underlying illness.

     The patient presented with pain in his left leg and fever on May 16. He was admitted to Tuen Mun Hospital on May 17 and was found to have infection of his left leg. Surgery was performed to remove the dead tissue in his leg on the same day. He later required amputation of his left calf on May 18.

     The patient is currently in the intensive care unit in serious condition.

     Laboratory tests on blood and tissue specimens from his left leg grew Vibrio vulnificus.

     The CHP's investigation revealed that the patient's left leg had been injured by a fish at a wet market on May 16. His home contacts were 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 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/Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Issued at HKT 18:16


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