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CHP investigates necrotising fasciitis case

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a case of necrotising fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) involving a 57-year-old man.

     The patient, with chronic illness, presented with right foot swelling and pain since July 2. He was admitted on the following day to Caritas Medical Centre, where debridement was done. He was diagnosed as having necrotising fasciitis and right leg below-knee amputation was performed on July 4.

     The patient is now receiving intensive care and is in a critical condition. The blood, foot muscle and fascia specimens collected from the patient yielded Vibrio vulnificus, a type of bacteria causing necrotising fasciitis.

     He has no recent travel history. His home contacts are asymptomatic.

     The CHP's investigation is continuing.

     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/Friday, July 6, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:52


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