F 1 D 0 - 2003 04 21 at 12 20
Strep can be worse than SARS.
Flesh-eating disease kills woman, 50
OTTAWA—A 50-year-old woman died of
flesh-eating disease after she was
admitted to an Ottawa hospital Friday.
The Smith Falls, Ont., woman succumbed
hours after doctors fought to save her,
the Ottawa Citizen reported yesterday.
Dr. Patricia Huston, Ottawa's associate
medical officer of health, confirmed
Saturday that the rare disease, known
as necrotizing fasciitis, killed the
woman. The victim's name was not released.
Huston said members of the woman's family
are being treated with antibiotics (Keflex).
Flesh-eating disease is caused by a group A
streptococcus infection. The group A streptococcus
bacterium can cause ailments as minor
as a sore throat to such serious
illnesses as strep throat, pneumonia and,
in this case, necrotizing fasciitis.
I tried to find the copy I read from the Thunder Bay
Chronicle-Journal. I'll have to retype it for you.
Much of it is the same. I guess these papers got the
article from Canadian Press, and use as much or as
little as they please.
She said someone who passed the
woman walking down the street would not
be susceptible to the disease, but others
who were closerhave the potential to be at risk.
"It's people who share sleeping arrangements
and people who have had direct mucus membrane
contact - so with the mouth, nose and eyes."
Why do I include it in my personal journal?
These next paragraphs indicate the real issues
Although the disease can attack even the
healthiest individuals, there are certain health
conditions and risk factors which may predispose
some people to the disease.
"We don't understand why certain people exposed to
Group A Strep develop severe disease and some things
in between, like strep throat," said Huston. "But most
cases of necrotizing fasciitis do occur in people who
have diabetes and heart disease or some other underlying
condition that maybe just weakens the system a little bit."
My hot buttons here? "We don't understand" she said.
"...that maybe..." she said.
I don't think they really know what makes
this particular disease as bad as it is.
I hope they get to the bottom of the SARS problem
soon too. On our local news here, tourism to Toronto
has entirely stopped. Is this a surprise?
I heard an interview of the professors who knew
Watson, Crick and a lesser known Rosalind Franklin.
She took xray pictures of DNA which helped the
famous pair decide they were on the right track.
I should have listened more carefullly, but I think
we've just had an anniversary of DNA discovery.
That puts modern science in a position of actually
being able to figure out what SARS and Strep do for
a living, and prevent that. Soon would be nice.
Oh, I can hear some of you already writing me back
and complaining of oversimplification. That we really
need to understand the mechanism of infection, and
find a way to interrupt it. That this has little to
do with genetics and DNA. Yes, I know.
But that's all I know.