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Paperback Details
  • 07/2015
  • 978-1478724773
  • 322 pages
  • $21.95
Jacqueline Roemmele
Author, Illustrator
Surviving the Flesh-Eating Bacteria: Understanding, Preventing, Treating, and Living with the Aftermath of Necrotizing Fasciitis

Adult; Health, Diet, Parenting, Home, Crafts & Gardening; (Publish)

“Surviving the Flesh-Eating Bacteria” underscores the devastating impact of necrotizing fasciitis and the human tragedies and triumphs that result. I recommend this book to colleagues and patients alike as a highly accurate and accessible source of valuable information about this deadly infection.” - James B. Dale, M.D. Developer of group A strep vaccine Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases University of Tennessee College of Medicine Harrowing headlines in the international media of the so-called flesh-eating bacteria strike fear in millions, especially when it attacks healthy, vibrant people like Aimee Copeland, who lost both hands, her left leg and right foot after she contracted the disease from a fall from a zip line. But despite the public’s fascination with this horrific infection, most people do not know the facts. Known in the medical community as necrotizing fasciitis or NF, the flesh-eating bacteria is often caused by the same bacterium that causes strep throat. Once set loose in the body, NF rapidly destroys tissue – sometimes at the rate of an inch per hour. NF is the perfect storm of medical emergencies – surreptitious symptoms that mask themselves like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, with excruciating pain as the toxic bacteria tear lightning fast through the subcutaneous tissues, destroying everything in its wake. Amputation of limbs or death is common – sometimes overnight. And no one is safe. Everyone is at risk from newborns to the elderly. What’s more, NF is being caused increasingly by bacteria abundant in warm ocean waters, a microscopic monster called Vibrio Vulnificus, as well as by MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant threat that kills nearly 20,000 every year in the U.S. alone, and which has world leaders extremely alarmed.
Reviews
Alan L. Bisno, M.D., Professor emeritus, Department of Medicine, University of M

This book serves as a valuable distillation of information for those who have experienced strep NF themselves or in loved ones, as well as for the general public. It is written with a minimum of the technical jargon we doctors often use (and overuse!), so the message is readily understandable to the nonprofessional. The true-life case histories are heart wrenching, often sad, and sometimes inspiring.

James B. Dale, M.D. Developer of group A strep vaccine Chief, Division of Infect

“Surviving the Flesh-Eating Bacteria” underscores the devastating impact of necrotizing fasciitis and the human tragedies and triumphs that result. I recommend this book to colleagues and patients alike as a highly accurate and accessible source of valuable information about this deadly infection.” 

News
08/12/2014
National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation Warns About Vibrio Infections

The National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation (NNFF) today issued a public service alert about a potentially deadly bacterium called Vibrio vulnificus.

"This microbe can get into the body through a tiny cut in the skin, causing a life-threatening infection," explains Jacqueline Roemmele, executive director of the NNFF. "People who might come in contact with Vibrio need to know what to look for so that they can get immediate treatment."
 
The microbe thrives in warm salty and brackish water, common to estuaries and other tidal areas. This summer it has caused outbreaks of serious illnesses in Florida, the Chesapeake Bay area, Louisiana, and many other coastal regions. Some victims have lost limbs to the flesh-eating infection. Others have died.

According to Dr. James Oliver, professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a leading expert on the bacterium, people can get sick from Vibrio from eating raw contaminated oysters (or other raw seafood) or from even a small wound. Many cases occur as the result of small nicks in the skin that happen when people shuck oysters, peel shrimp, or clean fish.

In people with underlying illnesses, Vibrio can cause raging life-threatening infections throughout the entire body. More typically, the microbe causes an infection at the site of the wound. "Tragically, that infection can quickly progress to necrotizing fasciitis, or flesh-eating disease, often resulting in amputation," said Roemmele. Death occurs in 25 percent of these wound cases.

So how can people protect themselves and their families?

"The most important step is being aware and vigilant about the threat," says Dr. John Crew, director of the Advanced Wound Care Center at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., and an expert in treating flesh-eating disease. "If you are swimming or fishing in warm salty water and get a cut or a scrape, you need to keep a close eye on the wound to watch for any signs of infection. If it starts to get inflamed, get immediate medical treatment."

In most cases, treatment with antibiotics will stop the infection. But not always. "If the infection doesn't get better quickly, and especially if the inflamed area starts to grow, then you need to seek out a medical center that has experience with treating flesh-eating disease," says Crew.

Some examples include the Wound Treatment Center at the Opelousas General Health System in Opelousas, Louisiana; the Wound Care Center at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif.; and Crew's Wound Care Center at Seton Medical Center. Seton and others are now using a new treatment pioneered by Crew in which wounds are irrigated with an antimicrobial cleanser called NeutroPhase, made by NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In lab tests, NeutroPhase both kills bacteria and neutralizes the toxins that eat away tissue. In both the medical journal WOUNDS and in interviews, Crew has described how the treatment works.

"Vibrio infections can be deadly," says Crew. "But with quick and aggressive treatment, we believe it should be possible to save the lives—and the limbs—of anyone who gets infected."

Source: National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation (NNFF)

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 07/2015
  • 978-1478724773
  • 322 pages
  • $21.95

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