Flesh-Eating Bacteria Is Real and This Is How It Works

Flesh-eating bacteria sounds like something
out of a horror movie, but in fact, it’s very real. And while rare, cases of it do occur all over
the world each year. So let’s confront this villain head-on and
flesh it out. Thank you for coming. Hi, my name is Isaac Chiu. I’m an assistant professor at Harvard Medical
School in the Department of Immunology. I’m very interested in understanding how pathogens
interact with the immune system and in this case, in highly invasive infections such as
flesh-eating disease. Flesh-eating bacteria is more commonly known
as a necrotizing infection. This cell death of the body’s soft tissue
is called necrotizing fasciitis, and you can get the types of bacteria that cause it in a few different
ways. So you could get necrotizing fasciitis from
a bacteria that came in from an insect bite or from a wound. Maybe you had an opening in your skin and
you stepped in brackish water. So there are many ways which bacteria can
get in. And one of the main types of those bacteria
that causes this disease is from the same family as a common infection we all know and
have maybe even had—strep. Six hundred million people a year get strep throat,
but that same pathogen can also in rare cases cause necrotizing fasciitis, but it’s the
same pathogen. The leading cause is streptococcus pyogenes,
but it can also be caused by both gram-positive and gram-negative types of bacteria, including
staph aureus and vibrio. And some actually are polymicrobial so there are
several bacterias together that form these necrotizing invasions. So a big question is how does the bacteria
become aggressive and dangerous, causing this invasive type of soft tissue infection? When it gets into that person in that
situation, that its tissue environment sends a signal to that bacteria that makes it switch
on genes that are making it more virulent? Is it that individual that’s more susceptible
to infection and that’s why it’s become necrotizing fasciitis? These are important questions. And while necrotizing fasciitis is still rare, fewer than about one in 100,000 adults will contract it, certain people are more susceptible to
it. Some risk factors include diabetes and compromised
immune systems. And with a mortality rate of up to about 30% in the U.S. and higher in developing nations, it’s a dangerous disease no matter where you live. Not to be alarmist, but I think it’s definitely important to watch for symptoms of infection
generally to get that treated. But it’s very, very rare. When it does infect the body, it can spread
quite rapidly, invading the deeper tissues. This happens when blood flow becomes blocked,
destroying the soft tissue. It can occur in our limbs and groin areas,
and that’s how it gets its name flesh eating. One of the major characteristic of flesh-eating disease is pain. So pain out of porportion with other clinical manifestations This could be a sign of potential necrotizing fasciitis. Once this bacteria makes its way down to the deep tissues, you may not see the superficial signs you’d see with a normal infection, such as redness or swelling. But you would experience an extreme amount of pain. This “pain out of proportion” is a red flag for a possible flesh-eating disease. One of the ways unfortunately to treat this disease is to surgically remove the tissue or even
to amputate the limb to prevent the bacteria from getting further than it can go, as well
as IV antibiotics. So I think one of the points is that it’s
hard to treat because it’s so aggressive. Potentially if you treat it earlier on with
antibiotics or surgical removal, their survival rate will be better. And normally, an infected site would be full
of white blood cells like neutrophils, which help trigger inflammation and send a signal
that something is wrong. Neutrophils are kind of the white blood
cell army. They’re mobilized during infection. They’re circulating in our blood and they
hone into the tissues as soon as there’s infection, but they’re not able to get to the necrotizing
fasciitis lesions very efficiently and they’re silenced by the bacteria as well through toxins. If you look inside a necrotizing fasciitis
tissue, you don’t see that many immune cells. That’s one of the contributing factors because
the bacteria has found a way to evade the immune system. But there is hope on the horizon, including
treatments that can block the bacteria from invading as efficiently and even the use of
a common cosmetic treatment. So we have found, for example, by using botulinum
toxins or Botox, you can silence the nerves from releasing these anti-immune molecules
called CGRP. So this is effective because we found that
the nerves block neutrophils, the immune cells that are really important for fighting infections. So by blocking that with Botox, neutrophils
come in to fight the bacteria at that site. So these are areas we’re really excited about
pursuing to slow down this bacterial spread during necrotizing invasion. While flesh-eating bacteria and infection
are rare, it’s important to know the signs and seek medical attention if you’re concerned. I think the point is that you just should see a doctor if you have, like, any infections… period. So the key is to go early and get it treated.

91 thoughts on “Flesh-Eating Bacteria Is Real and This Is How It Works

  1. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/could-deadly-infections-be-cured-vitamin-c-180963843/
    More than a million Americans fall ill from severe sepsis annually, and between 28 and 50 percent of them die, according to the National Institute of General Medical Studies. Because it often requires a long hospital stay, sepsis costs U.S. hospitals about $23 billion annually. The Global Sepsis Alliance reports that sepsis kills between 6 and 8 million people each year. That's more deaths than those caused by prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined.

    Given the stakes, the vitamin C treatment didn't seem so crazy. After all, Marik knew that sepsis patients often have undetectable levels of the nutrient, compared to healthy patients. Animals produce increased levels when they are stressed, but humans, thanks to a fatal mutation, are unable to make it on their own. The studies Marik read reported that replenishing vitamin C in sepsis patients could help them deal with shock and prevent organ damage. Why not give it a try?

    "Most times you don't have intravenous vitamin C, but fortunately our pharmacy had a small amount," he says. "It was like the stars were aligning." He gave Hobbs a cocktail of intravenous vitamin C, hydrocortisone and thiamine, and waited. 

    The next morning, Marik came in to discover Hobbs alive and already off the medication supporting her blood pressure. Her kidney function had improved. Two hours later, she was taken off a ventilator. Three days later, she went home. "You say, wow, what just happened?" Marik recalls. If the vitamin C protocol really did cure her, the consequences would be profound. Still, he thought, it might have been a fluke.

    Not long after, Marik he had another patient come in seriously ill with sepsis. He tried the same protocol and had the same success. The X-rays of a third patient who came in with pneumonia and severe sepsis revealed that, one day after the protocol, his lungs were 50 percent clearer. The second day, they were 100 percent better, Marik says.

  2. I LOVE your channel!!
    I've know 2 people who've had this BTW – Sadly, one died from complications after a skin graft (my beloved Mum-in-Law #RIPPatti)
    The other is alive and well now – though badly scarred.
    TY for covering this really important topic – your channel is ABSOLUTELY one of the Very best of its kind!!

  3. My friend contracted flesh-eating bacteria. He survived, but the treatment was very expensive. It cost him an arm and a leg.

  4. I love when they say you should see a doctor. Most doctors don’t have a clue what they are doing and most probably haven’t heard of this bacteria. Eat healthy, exercise and stay away from doctors and the pharmaceutical industry. You’ll be better off.

  5. Am processing all this bacteria thing…
    Strep pyogenes?
    :Still processing but you could have just said cellulitis thou
    Pyogenes damage underline tissues 🙄
    Nowadays they are called flesh eating bacteria

    🤐Somebody to stop that time

  6. I have literally learned so much since I have had my fasciotomies in my left arm. Proper and thorough hygiene is key to not getting these issues, along with going to a doctor right away when pain, redness, and swelling appear

  7. I almost lost my finger due to this. Was working at a restaraunt and had to clean the grease trap cut my finger while doing it. I got lucky.

  8. My aunt had this 9 years ago from a small bite on her elbow. She was told to call us to say her goodbyes as they felt she had only a 10% chance of surviving her surgery. She went from being OK to almost dying in 2 days. She's lucky to be alive now but lost most of the flesh on her arm and it came across her chest and breast as well.

  9. Hey seeker, great video! I heard about a experimental treatment a while back that could replace the damaged skin. I posted the link to an article that I found below. I looked into the skin spray and it is from Avita Medical (RCEL), with a product called Recell. Do you (and Dr. Chiu) think that this would be an effective treatment for the flesh eating bacteria? Or at least repairing the damaged skin?


  10. I really like the series and your videos in general, but I would like to know where you get your drawings from?

    And if you make your own pictures and animation, can I use them for my school project?

  11. I heard stool transplant Is quite effective in increasing the immune system which ultimately can kill these flesh-eating bacteria

  12. I've seen this happen to a friend of mine, all she did was fall over into a patch of rough grass and cut her leg on a hidden piece of glass, by the time we got her to the hospital you could literally see the wound getting bigger, it was nasty to watch but also a bit fascinating… 🤦‍♂️💥

  13. Why did I watch this-I've currently a massive wound on my leg after having a skin graft because I had huge swelling from a badly broken leg, now I've something else to worry about 😂

  14. I will give you my cousins for research, the only bacteria you can see with eyes :)) … When you have time visit ugu.mihailo (channel with. videos on eng sub) with open mind

  15. one of my friends had this bacteria in a wound on his leg
    He strugled for years,had to change bandage 2 times a day,
    he almost lost his leg because of it.
    It can bee very bad,even deadly! its now joke AT ALL! terible!

  16. it is relatively common here. I personally know two people that had it. It was about a five year hell with special a/bs to help fight it. we are not sure what the disease vectors are yet, but mosquitoes are being looked at. after about twenty years we are not really much closer to solving it, although there has beenagain later in life some progress and my two friends don't have it any more. we hope it isn't hiding away waiting to be triggered by something again in the future. They know where it is here but not why. Im in southern australia.

  17. Signs on how to prevent yourself from getting infected by flesh-eating bacteria:
    1) Wash your hands
    2) Disinfect any cuts
    3) Do not expose any wounds with dirty or polluted water
    4) MOST IMPORTANTLY, Stay away from Fugo’s Purple Haze, you will die in 30 seconds

    Sorry, I clicked this video thinking it’s a Jojo reference

  18. Really didn’t need to see this as there is currently a rash on the back of my hand. I was gonna wait for it to go away, NOW I have to go to the doctor. Thanks

  19. I was a medic in the army in toronto just starting out and signed up for an opportunity for Over seas tours. I thought, my Nursing schooling had not taught much on immunology and pathogenesis of some diseases. So I went to my schools library and picked up some textbooks on relative subjects to the regions I had requested. I was so praising God I had. I went to visit my folks one day and my dad had a weeping wound on his arm. Just happened to be that in one of those text books it had covered how tropical fish can cause necrotizing fascittis. My dad had been cleaning his fish tank with a wound on his arm. I sent him to the emerg, the Doctor totally agreed and put him on strong anti-biotics. I was 20 years old and earnt so much of dad respect that day. I still absorb textbooks like most people do magazines.

  20. Are there people who believe it's made up? I mean, who even knows what biologists have toyed around with with that stuff… but that may be going a bit too Resident Evil. Probably not tho.

  21. Ebola is the worst worser than chicken pocks, but still if you are crazy enough you can cut your own flesh not too much I hope for you

  22. Brain eating amoeba (Naegleria fowleri) is real as well. It kills people within few days every year and its mortality is 95% :-/

  23. This is the real flesh EATING BACTERIA THROWN BY GOVERMENT AND THE POLICE Freud's experiments with the drug led to the publication of a well-regarded paper called “Über Coca,” which he described as “a song of praise to this magical substance" in a “pretty racy” letter to his then-fiancé Martha Bernays. (He also promised she would be unable to resist the advances of: “a big, wild man who has cocaine in his body.”) Two years later, his health suffering, Freud apparently stopped all use of the drug and rarely mentioned it again.

  24. My father had this. One night he bumped his leg on the bed leg and broke the skin. Three days later we went to see his doctor who was in his late years.
    The Doc dialed 911 and said X hospital X decease and X specialist.
    By some random stroke of luck said specialist was his wife. With the correct antibiotics he survived without amputation.
    He did get a skin graft to speed up the healing process.

  25. Tenia el cuello muy duro, no podia mover la cervical, ESTABA DURISIMO, full of cocaine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-1HufKUrK8&t=336s

  26. Governments I mean all governments and all the police, the information is more than in sight, it is just a matter of ending that great correlation MASSIVE CORRUPTION this is what brings war!!!!

  27. Many Barbaros Aniblas in goverment, our president name is also Anibal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xlj-Z4Jyfc&t=824s

  28. I was the first cameraman to arrive at the site of the explosion of the Israeli embassy, ​​it is outrageous that my country continues to hide it in such a blatant way, the only blatant thing is the millions of free perverts by the police, seriously affecting social coexistence. affecting the competition so that it is only the large groups that are left with everything and generating a genocide among Argentines originating big bif inflation https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=la+nacion+nisman

  29. I had this on my leg after an accident. I had to spend 2 weeks in the hospital and had to wear a 'vaccum' on my leg for months. I'm super anxious about infections, but I have a cool scar now.

  30. Lost my dad to this😔 He was 68 and diabetic. He passed away within 3 days of acquiring it. A small scratch on his foot led to this😑

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