A Dutchman living in Nakhon Ratchasima is on a mission to spread awareness about “flesh-eating disease’
(necrotising fasciitis) after a mosquito bite became infected, then inflamed and painful, with no signs of healing.
Necrotising Fasciitis Awareness Day is on May 31st, aiming to provide information and help for the treatment and prevention of this infection. It also encourages people to provide support in any way possible for those affected.
Long-term expat, 62 year old Ed Olieslagers first went to the hospital in April last year to be diagnosed with this rare bacterial infection that spread rapidly and proved to be close to fatal.
‘’That was only the beginning of a long period of operations, medications and terrible pains that I still cannot describe in words,” he says.
After nine operations, it was clear that his left leg would need to be amputated above the knee to save his life, four months after his diagnosis.
“In my case, the body started reacting positively and then a new infections developed again and again. I finally ended up twice in a sepsis situation, meaning the body started switching off non-vital parts, which results in death unless you take emergency action like an amputation.”
Necrotising fasciitis, also known as by the scarier tabloid name “flesh-eating disease”, is a rare and life-threatening infection that can happen if a wound gets infected.
Symptoms can develop quickly within hours or over a few days. These may include intense pain or loss of feeling near to a cut or wound – the pain may seem much worse than you would expect. Swelling of the skin may occur around the affected area with flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature, headache and tiredness.
Later symptoms can include being sick (vomiting), diarrhoea, black, purple or grey blotches and blisters on the skin (these may be less obvious on black or brown skin).
Necrotising means causing the death of tissues. fasciitis means inflammation of the fascia (the tissue under the skin that surrounds muscles, nerves, fat, and blood vessels).
It can happen when bacteria invade the soft tissue and fascia. They multiply quickly, releasing toxins and enzymes that cause blood clots in the blood vessels. this leads to the death of the tissues in your skin and muscles and the tissues under your skin.
Quick and accurate diagnosis of necrotising fasciitis and rapid antibiotic treatment and surgery are critical in stopping this infection before it causes severe damage or death.