The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a case of necrotising fasciitis (NF) involving a man aged 50. This is the fourth case reported in the past two weeks by the CHP.

Vibrio vulnificus/CDC
Vibrio vulnificus/CDC

The patient, with underlying illnesses, has presented with left hand swelling and redness since September 21 and was admitted to Yan Chai Hospital on the same day. He has been managed in the Intensive Care Unit since September 23 and is currently in a critical condition. His clinical diagnosis was left hand NF.

The patient’s left hand wound swab yielded Vibrio vulnificus (VV), a type of bacteria which can cause NF, upon preliminary laboratory testing by Princess Margaret Hospital.      He has no recent travel history. His 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.

Vibrio may cause an infection of the skin when open wounds are exposed to warm seawater. These infections may lead to skin breakdown and ulceration. In some people vibrio may then infect the blood stream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness. This illness may be characterized by fever, chills, decreased blood pressure, and blistering skin lesions. While healthy people also can get sick, people with compromised immune systems may be at higher risk for invasion of the organism into the bloodstream and potentially fatal complications. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page