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Review
, 15 (1), 109-21

Bromine, Bear-Claw Scratch Fasciotomies, and the Eagle Effect: Management of Group A Streptococcal Necrotising Fasciitis and Its Association With Trauma

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Review

Bromine, Bear-Claw Scratch Fasciotomies, and the Eagle Effect: Management of Group A Streptococcal Necrotising Fasciitis and Its Association With Trauma

Lucy E M Lamb et al. Lancet Infect Dis.

Abstract

Necrotising fasciitis is a rare, but potentially fatal, soft-tissue infection. Historical depictions of the disease have been described since classical times and were mainly recorded in wartime reports of battle injuries. Although several different species of bacteria can cause necrotising fasciitis, perhaps the most widely known is group A streptococcus (GAS). Infection control, early surgical debridement, and antibiotic therapy are now the central tenets of the clinical management of necrotising fasciitis; these treatment approaches all originate from those used in wars in the past 150 years. We review reports from the 19th century, early 20th century, and mid-20th century onwards to show how the management of necrotising fasciitis has progressed in parallel with prevailing scientific thought and medical practice. Historically, necrotising fasciitis has often, but not exclusively, been associated with penetrating trauma. However, along with a worldwide increase in invasive GAS disease, recent reports have cited cases of necrotising fasciitis following non-combat-related injuries or in the absence of antecedent events. We also investigate the specific association between GAS necrotising fasciitis and trauma. In the 21st century, molecular biology has improved our understanding of GAS pathogenesis, but has not yet affected attributable mortality.

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