Two people in Western Sydney have been admitted to the hospital due to an extremely rare flesh-eating infection. The patients, a 57-year-old man and 46-year-old woman from Mt Druitt, acquired necrotizing fasciitis in Polynesia and are currently under treatment at Blacktown Hospital.
The flesh-eating infection apparently affected the victim’s lower bodies. According to reports, the infection affected the man’s lower back down to his feet while it affected the woman from the knees down. However, both patients are now in a stable condition.
The West Sydney Health posted on Twitter that the patients, who are not related to each other, do not pose any risk to the public. Health experts point out that there is no reason to panic. According to Dr. Saxon Smith, an Australian Medical Association NSW board member and dermatologist, necrotizing fasciitis affects a person’s fat and muscle. Once the bacteria get through cuts in the skin or even a tiny insect bite, it can rapidly spread in one’s body.
The disease can cause a gas formation under one’s skin, which you can view properly on an x-ray. Smith said that it makes one’s skin feel and look bubbly. If not treated early, it can lead to organ failure or death.
About one in five people who get infected with necrotizing fasciitis die. Sometimes, the condition can only get treated with surgery, which involves cutting out affected skin and muscle that already died due to it. The infection can be several types of bacteria. Smith thinks that the patients picked up the disease oyster shells or coral.
“That may be how these cases happened, being in Polynesia. It’s contaminated saltwater containing this bacteria that can be found in oyster shells and things like that,” Smith pointed out, according to news.com.au. “It’s a dramatic and scary thing but these cases aren’t a risk to anybody else.”