F 1 D 0 - 2003 04 21 at 12 20

Strep can be worse than SARS.

TheStar.com article

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. CANADIAN PRESS
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 for me.
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.