Bacteria Outbreak in Japan, Cases Rising

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The bacteria is rendered using a microscope. (BSIP/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

An outbreak of “flesh-eating bacteria” has emerged in Japan, with several health officials warning that it can cause death in shorts amount of time.

Roughly 1,000 cases of Streptococcal toxic shoch syndrome (STSS) have already been reported in Japan this year alone. The National Institute of Infectious Diseases has explained by June 2, 977 cases of STSS have been reported, an increase from the prior year, which had 941 cases in the initial six months of 2024.This disease has especially hurt Tokyo, where 145 cases have occurred there in just the first half of this year alone.  

STSS is a bacterial infection where bacteria go into deep tissues as well as the bloodstream. Initial symptoms include fever, muscle pain, as well as vomiting, though it can severely worsen to low blood pressure, swelling, as well as various organ failure with the body going into shock.

Proffesor in infectious diseases at Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Ken Kikuchi, explained stating, “Most of the deaths happen within 48 hours,” while also adding, “As soon as a patient notices swelling in foot in the morning, it can expand to the knee by noon, and they can die within 48 hours.”

“We can boost immunity if we are constantly exposed to bacteria. But that mechanism was absent during the coronavirus pandemic,” Kikuchi stated. “So, more people are now susceptible to infection, and that may be one reason for the sharp rise in cases.”

The CDC stated the elderly that have an open wound are especially more at risk of contracting STSS, as well as the ones who have recently undergone surgery. “However, experts don’t know how the bacteria got into the body for nearly half of people who get STSS,” the CDC explained.

Written by Kevin Han

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