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Necrotizing fasciitis is an uncommon but serious bacterial infection that destroys skin along with fat and muscle beneath it. Most persons who acquire the disease are in good health. The portal of entry may be as trivial as a small nick. Within twenty-four to thirty-six hours, the injured site worsens. Symptoms may include fever, chills, and excruciating pain.
The skin damage is the result of toxins secreted by the bacteria.
Immediate medical care and hospitalization are mandatory. Surgical debridement and IV antibiotics can be life-saving; indeed, some 30 percent to 40 percent of persons who contract necrotizing fasciitis die from the disease.