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Hong Kong Investigates Necrotizing Fasciitis

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Hong Kong Department of Health received a report of a necrotizing fasciitis case (flesh-eating disease) involving a 60-year-old man.

The man, living in Kwun Tong, injured his left middle finger when handling a crab on January 25. His finger became swollen later and he was admitted to United Christian hospital on January 27. He later underwent surgery and is currently in stable condition.

Laboratory tests on pus from his left middle finger yielded Vibrio vulnificus, a type of bacteria causing necrotizing fasciitis.

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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.