Necrotizing fasciitis is a rapidly spreading, infection and inflammation of the deep layers of the skin. It is a relatively rare but severe infection. Early on the symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis include a sore throat and fever. This is followed by pain in the area of affected skin and the skin can become red, hot, and swollen. As the infection proceeds the skin will darken in color, and may blister. The deeper layers of skin will then die. The damage to the skin is usually caused by bacterial infection from injections or surgery, decreased oxygen or blood flow to the tissues, and diabetes.
A diagnosis of necrotizing fasciitis is made by examining the patient’s blood or pus from the wound to look for the disease causing agents. It is important to treat the disease as early as possible with antibiotics. Surgery to remove the affected tissue is also important, and the surgeon must be aggressive to ensure that all of the disease causing bacteria is removed. Despite antibiotic treatment and surgical care the percentage of complications and death from the disease is 70-80%.