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Volume 38, Number 5, October 2005

Rapidly progressive necrotizing fasciitis caused by Staphylococcus aureus

Yu-Tsung Lee, Trong-Duo Chou, Ming-Yieh Peng, Feng-Yee Chang
Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan

Received: February 25, 2005    Revised: April 12, 2005    Accepted: April 21, 2005   


Corresponding author:

Dr. Feng-Yee Chang, Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Tri-Service General Hospital, No. 325, Sec. 2, Cheng-Kung Rd., Neihu 114, Taipei, Taiwan. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it




Necrotizing fasciitis (NF) is a rapidly progressive life-threatening infection located in the deep fascia, with secondary necrosis of the subcutaneous tissues. Staphylococcus aureus as a single etiologic agent is rare. The pathogenicity of S. aureus infections is related to various bacterial surface components and extracellular proteins. A 56-year-old man developed fever, hypotension, impaired renal and hepatic functions, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and rapidly progressive NF affecting the 4 extremities due to methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA). The initial presenting symptoms were general weakness and muscular pain over bilateral thighs and left shoulder, and gradual onset of weakness of the limbs. On the third hospital day, multiple red-purplish discoloration spread across the right lower leg and left forearm. Fasciotomy and debridement was performed on the fifth hospital day, and the diagnosis of NF was confirmed. MSSA was the only pathogen isolated from 4 sets of blood cultures taken on admission and cultures of tissues collected during surgical debridement. The disease progressed rapidly over the 4 extremities despite appropriate antibiotic treatment. He recovered after multiple extensive surgical interventions and 8 weeks of intensive medical care. Early diagnosis, intensive surgical intervention, antibiotic treatment and intensive medical care are crucial for a successful outcome in patients with septic shock and extensive NF caused by S. aureus.



Key words:

Bloodletting, necrotizing fasciitis, Staphylococcus aureus



J Microbiol Immunol Infect 2005;38:361-364.