Necrotizing Fasciitis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

It is a bacterial infection that predominantly affects the skin, subcutaneous tissue, and muscle.

The medical term “necrosis” actually refers to the death of the cells or tissues of the body. Essentially, necrotizing fasciitis is the cellular destruction of the skin and subcutaneous tissue. For this reason, it is defined as a bacterial infection that eats meat because bacteria eat the layers of the skin.

Causes of Necrotizing Fasciitis

Although in rare cases, the necrotizing fasciitis can be caused by certain strains of fungi, the condition usually occurs due to some bacterial infection. The most common strains of bacteria known to cause this infection are group A streptococci and staphylococci. However, it is essential to note that other types of bacteria can be found when the wound is grown, including non-aerobic organisms, such as E. coli, Klebsiella and Pseudomonas.

Many medical scientists have concluded that aerobic bacteria are not capable of damaging tissues because oxygen in the affected area is significantly reduced, which then allows aerobic organisms such as streptococci and staphylococci to reproduce and expand.


  • Skin reddened, inflamed, and warm to the touch.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

Who is at risk

Although this condition is rare, recent studies have indicated that approximately 25 percent of patients die from the progression of this disease. In general, patients with immunodeficiency disorders such as diabetes, cancer, and kidney disease have a much higher risk of developing necrotizing fasciitis due to the compromised state of the immune system. In addition, it is essential to note that steroids are considered an immunosuppressive agent, Which is why patients taking steroids for different medical conditions should be aware of the risk factor.

The primary transfer method for bacteria that cause necrotizing fasciitis is through the skin. This means that open wounds are particularly of great concern for transmission, including decubitus ulcers and post-surgical incisions.


Due to the risk of this disease, patients with this condition should be hospitalized immediately after the initial diagnosis has been made.


The intravenous antibiotics are started as long as treatment culture results to determine exactly what type of bacteria caused the infection. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are commonly used to cover a wide variety of bacteria and help reduce the risk of a Staphylococcus aureus-resistant infection. Once the results of the cultures are available and the organism’s susceptibility has been determined, the patient can be given an antibiotic that can eradicate that particular organism.

Most patients with necrotizing fasciitis will have to undergo a surgical procedure to remove dead tissue. This procedure aims to help reduce the risk of infection, decrease the ability of bacteria to spread, and create a more critical condition.