The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (December 3) investigating two cases of necrotising fasciitis (NF) involving a man aged 84 and a woman aged 85.
The male patient presented with an injury to his right shin in mid-November, which progressively became painfully swollen, leading to fever. He was admitted to United Christian Hospital (UCH) on December 1 and is currently in the Intensive Care Unit for management in critical condition. His clinical diagnosis was right shin NF.
The female patient presented with fever and painful swelling of left ring finger on November 28. She was admitted to UCH on November 29 and has been in stable condition all along. Her clinical diagnosis was left ring finger NF. Amputation of the left ring finger was performed on December 1.
The male patient’s blood culture and the wound swab and left ring finger tissue culture of the female patient yielded Vibrio vulnificus (VV), a type of bacteria which can cause NF, upon laboratory testing by UCH.
Both patients, with underlying illnesses, have no recent travel history. Their home contacts were asymptomatic. Investigations by the CHP are proceeding.
“NF is a serious bacterial infection of the soft tissue and fascia. It can destroy tissue and cause death within 12 to 24 hours after infection,” a spokesman for the CHP explained.
Members of the public are reminded to take heed of the following preventive measures:
* Avoid foot or leg contact with dirty water when visiting wet markets;
* Avoid exposure of open wounds or broken skin to seawater or salty water;
* Wounds should be thoroughly cleaned and properly covered; and
* Wear thick rubber gloves when handling raw shellfish or other seafood.
Patients should promptly seek medical advice if relevant symptoms and signs of infection such as increasing redness, pain, swelling and pus develop.