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Business News/ Science / Health/  This flesh-eating bacteria spreading in Japan can kill in two days: Know symptoms
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This flesh-eating bacteria spreading in Japan can kill in two days: Know symptoms

The spread of ‘flesh-eating bacteria’ in Japan has escalated post-Covid restrictions, with cases of STSS reaching 977 by June 2.

Other countries have experienced recent outbreaks. (Image: Pixabay)Premium
Other countries have experienced recent outbreaks. (Image: Pixabay)

The spread of a rare "flesh-eating bacteria" disease in Japan has accelerated following the relaxation of COVID-era restrictions, potentially resulting in fatalities within 48 hours.

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As reported by Bloomberg, cases of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) reached 977 this year by June 2, higher than the record 941 cases reported for all of last year, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, which has been tracking incidences of the disease since 1999.

Group A Streptococcus (GAS) commonly results in throat swelling and soreness, known as "strep throat," in children. However, certain strains of this bacteria can rapidly escalate symptoms, including limb pain, fever, low blood pressure, and potentially leading to tissue death, breathing difficulties, organ failure, and mortality. Individuals aged 50 and older are at higher risk for developing this condition.

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“Most of the deaths happen within 48 hours," said Ken Kikuchi, a professor in infectious diseases at Tokyo Women’s Medical University. “As soon as a patient notices swelling in the foot in the morning, it can expand to the knee by noon, and they can die within 48 hours."

In late 2022, several European countries notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of a rise in cases of invasive group A streptococcus (iGAS) disease, including STSS. The increase in cases occurred after these countries' relaxation of Covid restrictions.

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“At the current rate of infections, the number of cases in Japan could reach 2,500 this year, with a terrifying mortality rate of 30%," Kikuchi said.

Kikuchi urged people to maintain hand hygiene and to treat any open wounds. He said patients may carry GAS in their intestines, which could contaminate hands through faeces, reported Bloomberg.

(With inputs from Bloomberg)

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Published: 16 Jun 2024, 09:49 AM IST
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