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Local Man Could Have Flesh Eating Bacteria Syndrome

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The petri dish is still doing its work and it could be a day or more before there is confirmation, but doctors believe a man in Allegheny County is hospitalized tonight with a case of Necrotizing Fasciitis, otherwise known as Flesh Eating Bacteria Syndrome.

Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dixon says, "There's a presumptive case in Allegheny County. We don't have all the facts yet. We don't have all the microbiology yet, but clinically it looks like that's what this individual may have."

Dr. Dixon says about a dozen cases of flesh eating bacteria infections surface in the county every year. The actual bacterium is a common strain "that you and I come in contact with every day and don't get ill from."

But some people are extremely susceptible to the bacteria. This appears to be the case with the patient in the intensive care unit of Jefferson Regional Medical Center.

"He was engaged in some kind of outdoor activity and either lacerated or got a leg abrasion and got infected that way," says Dr. Dixon.

The incident occurred last weekend and the man who is about 30-years old is undergoing intensive antibiotic treatments.

If the antibiotics are unsuccessful or the bacteria spreads, Dr. Dixon says the only alternative will be amputation of any areas the bacteria infects.

The man works as a food handler at the William Moorehead Federal Building on Grant Street and Dr. Dixon sent a letter of reassurance to his boss and co-workers today.

"He's no threat to anyone he's worked with. He is no threat to his family, no threat to anyone in the hospital, or to anyone in society."

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