FLESH-EATING DISEASE (Necrotizing Fasciitis)

Necrotizing fasciitis is an extremely severe form of cellulitis that destroys infected tissue under the skin.

A particularly nasty strain of Streptococcus causes this infection. It's contracted in the same way as any other cellulitis, but it proceeds to destroy tissue at a rapid pace (some call it "flesh-eating disease"). The skin takes on a violet color, and large fluid-filled blisters (bullae) and gangrene may develop. The person usually feels very ill and has a fever, a rapid heart rate, and mental deterioration ranging from confusion to unconsciousness. Blood pressure may fall because large amounts of fluid are excreted into the infected area.