TOKYO (Agencies): A record number of cases of a potentially fatal “flesh-eating disease” were reported in Japan in 2023, and health experts warn the figure could rise.

The number of patients diagnosed with streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) had decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic, but confirmed cases surged to 941 last year, topping the previous record of 894 set in 2019. STSS, caused by a bacterium called group A Streptococcus, can lead to serious symptoms such as sore throat, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. Approximately 30% of STSS cases end in death because symptoms can suddenly worsen.

The bacterium has been dubbed “flesh-eating” due to its ability to cause necrosis of tissue surrounding muscles. Although not a respiratory illness like pneumonia or Covid-19, STSS remains a serious concern, emphasizing the importance of hand hygiene to prevent its spread. The highly virulent and infectious UK strain of the bacterium has also been confirmed in Japan.

By Media

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