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Flesh-eating bacteria spreads across Japan – here’s what you need to know

Cases of  streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, called “STSS,” have increased in Japan, infecting 977 cases in June – a high rate compared to last year.

This flesh-eating bacteria can kill a person in 48 hours.

According to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan, the record number registered in 2023 was 941 cases, which confirms an increase this year.


Symptoms of the disease

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases reveals that the streptococcus causes swelling and inflammation of the throat in children and calls the disease “strep throat.”

The disease progresses rapidly in the presence of some types of bacteria, causing low blood pressure, breathing problems, pain in the limbs, organ failure, and death.


People most vulnerable

Everyone over the age of 50 is at risk of contracting this serious disease, as confirmed by the professor of infectious diseases at Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Ken Kikuchi.

Many of the deaths can occur within 48 hours, he noted.

“The disease spreads quickly through the body as soon as the foot swells, after a few hours the swelling spreads to the knee, and a few hours later the patient dies,” he explained.


High numbers of deaths

The marked increase in the number of infections means an increases in the number of deaths, he warned, adding that cases could reach up to 2,500 this year.

Kikuchi advised everyone to keep their hands clean and treat wounds.


Emergence of the disease in other countries

Five European countries have reported cases and the World Health Organization commented on the spread of invasive streptococcal disease which has now emerged appeared after easing precautionary measures related to the coronavirus.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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