Thursday, February 16, 2006

Colorado, Strep A, and Necrotizing Fasciitis

On a day when Kleiner Perkins announces a new $200 million Pandemic and Bio-Defense fund aimed at speeding up worldwide pandemic preparedness, targeting the spread of avian flu, among other diseases, I am also reminded of what appears to be an unusually high concentration of Necrotizing Fascittis and Myositis, or flesh eating disease for short, occurring right here in Boulder, Colorado.

Necrotizing Fascittis is a bacterial infection commonly caused by group A strepococci bacteria, quite often this ordinary strain is easily neutralized by antibiotics however, in rare instances, and typically in concert with other bugs such as Peptostrptococcus, Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas among others, may yield this rapidly spreading flesh eating disease.

The good news: NF is rare. The disease typically takes hold following a trauma or around foreign bodies in a surgical wound, or it can be idiopathic (not so good).

The bad news: 3 otherwise healthy Boulder residents have been afflicted with this flesh eating disease in the last 4-months and 4 total cases in the last 16-months. Of the four cases one person passed, the other three have thankfully survived only following multiple emergency surgeries including multiple amputations.

Though a rare disease the frequency is increasing. It is important to take what the media is feeding, in terms of emerging pandemics, with a grain of salt. Look at all of the variables and do the requisite homework, examine not only what may be evolving but what is evolving and accelerating in ones backyard, like Necrotizing Fasciitis.

I did refrain from posting a picture or two of what this flesh eating disease looks like, it is a distrubing site indeed.

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