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Two contact flesh-eating bacteria in Okinawa, one dies

Date Posted: 2003-03-22

Two persons in Okinawa are confirmed to have contacted bacteria that cause body tissue to die. One of the patients has died of the contamination.

Okinawa health officials say that there have been 66 such cases nationwide since 2000, when the first case was discovered. Thirty of the patients died. The necrosis-causing bacterium was first discovered in the U.S. in 1987. The first case in Japan was discovered in 1992.

Health officials say the bacterial infection mostly affects people over 30 years of age. The symptoms begin with a fever and pains in legs and arms. If untreated, it quickly proceeds and leads to kidney, liver and heart failure and death, sometimes in less than 20 hours after contacting the bacteria.

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