Thailand responds to surge in flesh-eating disease cases in Japan

Picture courtesy of Viktor Forgacs, Unsplash

A surge in the number of flesh-eating disease cases, officially known as necrotising fasciitis, in Japan, has prompted a response from Thailand’s Department of Disease Control (DDC). The DDC gave reassurances yesterday that no instances of the rare but deadly bacterial infection have been reported in Thailand this year.

The DDC is keeping a close eye on the developments in Japan and Thailand. Japan is currently grappling to uncover the root cause of the sudden increase in necrotising fasciitis cases. Some speculate that the recent relaxation of Covid-19 preventive measures could be a contributing factor.

The DDC highlighted that preventative actions taken against Covid also serve as excellent safeguards against this bacterial infection. It further explained that over 200 types of bacteria can lead to necrotising fasciitis, with Group A Streptococcus (Group A strep) being the most frequent culprit.

The infection rates of necrotising fasciitis, spanning from 2019 until the end of last year, were reported to be 106,021, with 1,048 fatalities. The DDC noted a significant decline in the morbidity rate in Thailand last year, which dropped to 27.35 per 100,000 population from 32.5 in previous years. It was also observed that infection rates typically peak between June and July annually.

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Necrotising fasciitis is a severe ailment that necessitates hospital care. Antibiotics and surgery are usually the primary defensive strategies if a patient is suspected to have the disease.

The DDC further noted that within Thailand’s disease surveillance system, scarlet fever is identified as a potential warning sign of a Group A Streptococcus infection. This fever is part of the disease monitoring programme under the 2015 Communicable Diseases Act.

Although the rash associated with scarlet fever is harmless, it signals the presence of Group A Strep disease. This infection can escalate into invasive diseases such as necrotising fasciitis or toxic shock syndrome, which can be fatal if not promptly treated, reported Bangkok Post.

Just last week, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced an alarming statistic. The number of necrotising fasciitis cases has already surpassed more than half of last year’s total, with 88 instances in the capital and 517 nationwide.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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