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Flesh Eatin' Good

By Rachelle Bowden in News on Aug 24, 2005 6:30PM

A woman in a Tinley Park nursing home contracted a flesh-eating bacteria that landed her in hospice care and may cause her death. Her family has filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against McAllister Nursing Home, seeking damages of over $50,000. She contracted the bacteria, called necrotizing fasciitis, while recuperating from a hip replacement.

2005_08_strain.jpgWait a second...flesh-eating bacteria?!? These things exist? Chicagoist thought you only have to worry about that kind of stuff if you're an extra on the cast of "24". But apparently NF (as its fans know it), is widespread enough that there is a National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation to support its victims.

According to the foundation, NF is a wee beastie related to common strep throat. Anyone, young or old, healthy or sick, is vulnerable to it; it most often occurs after surgery or trauma, but can even come from minor injuries like rug burns, paper cuts, and scrapes. Once the bacteria gets into the body, it quickly reproduces and releases toxins and enzymes that destroy soft tissue. The gangrenous tissue then has to be surgically removed. As if having your flesh eaten wasn't bad enough, NF can also cause dangerously low blood pressure, confusion, fever, and dehydration. Yikes.

The part that confuses Chicagoist though, is that to contract NF you have to come in contact with another carrier, meaning this poor woman in Tinley was given this present by someone else at the facility. What we want to know is who is walking around Tinley Park doling out super germs, and if he's finished, could he please return to his evil volcanic island lair and leave us alone.

Thanks, Matt!