Another man ill with flesh-eating disease

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 June, 2010, 12:00am

An 86-year-old man is in critical condition with a confirmed case of the flesh-eating disease necrotising fasciitis, the second case reported in two days.

The Mong Kok man developed fever, chills, leg pain and redness on June 14 and was admitted to Kwong Wah Hospital the next day, a spokesman from the Centre for Health Protection said.

He underwent surgery on June 15 and 17 to remove dead tissue in his right calf. Yesterday he remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

His blood culture grew Vibrio vulnificus, a type of bacteria that can cause the disease. The centre said he had no recent travel history and could not recall any recent injury.

No one in his household had symptoms. The spokesman said the disease was a serious bacterial infection in soft tissue and the fascia. It could destroy tissue and cause death within 12 to 24 hours of infection.

On Wednesday, the centre said a 69-year-old man from Sham Shui Po was in serious condition in Caritas Medical Centre after being admitted on June 19 for the infection. Surgeons had operated to amputate his left leg below the knee.

The centre reminded people to avoid exposing open wounds or broken skin to seawater or salty water, while wounds should be thoroughly cleaned and properly covered.

The centre said the latest case was the fourth related to the bacteria so far this year. A total of 18 cases relating to the same bacteria were reported last year, with six of them fatal.