Sep 8, 2016
Infection Leads to Surgery

Administrators at El Diamante High School in Visalia, Calif., recently contacted its football players’ parents with a warning to watch out for skin infections after a freshman member of the team contracted an infection. The player sustained a small cut on his middle finger during practice. A few hours later, he was vomiting and had a headache.

An article from the Miami Herald  reports that the student-athlete’s finger was remarkably swollen the next day so his mother took him to an urgent care facility. Once there, the physician immediately referred them to the emergency room at Valley Children’s Hospital where he had surgery for necrotizing fasciitis the following day.

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Necrotizing fasciitis—more commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria—is caused when the bacteria attacks muscle, skin, and fat. According to the CDC, group A streptococcus is the most common type of bacteria connected with this disease.

“The CDC advises that necrotizing fasciitis caused by group A strep is rare and is rarely spread from person to person,” Dr. Karen Haught, a Tulare County (Calif.) health officer, said in a statement reported by the Miami Herald. “The condition is caused by the bacteria entering through a break in the skin such as from a cut, puncture wound or insect bite. Prompt wound cleaning and keeping any open wound covered are important steps in prevention. Symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis caused by group A strep can start quickly after a wound occurs and include severe pain, redness, swelling and warmth at the site, fever, chills and vomiting. If an individual has any of these symptoms after having a wound, prompt medical attention is needed.”

The infected student-athlete was released from the hospital and is recovering. Along with advising parents to be on the lookout for skin infections, El Diamante High School and Visalia’s other three high schools used hospital-grade disinfectants to clean their football equipment.

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