Hong Kong Investigates Case Of Necrotizing Fasciitis

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Centre for Health Protection of the Hong Kong Department of Health received a report of a necrotizing fasciitis case (flesh-eating disease) involving an 80-year-old woman.

The woman, living in Tseung Kwan O, injured her right middle finger when handling fish on December 14. Her finger became swollen and red the same evening. She was admitted to hospital the next day and underwent surgery on December 16 and 17. She is currently in stable condition.

Laboratory tests on pus from her finger yielded growth of Vibrio vulnificus, a type of bacteria causing necrotizing fasciitis.


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

Members of the public 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 cleansed and properly covered;
* Wear thick rubber gloves when handling raw shellfish;

Patients should seek medical advice promptly if they developed symptoms and signs of infection like increasing redness, pain and swelling.