NAGOYA – Two men died at a Nagoya hospital last year after being infected with a strain of streptococcus that quickly kills skin and muscle tissue, hospital officials said Friday.
The two elderly men died at Nagoya University Hospital after being infected with a strain of group A hemolytic streptococcus.
The bacterium has a high mortality rate, destroying tissues as fast as within several hours and causing breathing difficulties. Experts said the rate of infection has been on a rise in recent years.
The officials said one patient was in his 70s and the other in his 60s.
The man in his 70s was hospitalized last March after showing signs of pneumonia. He had quickly developed gangrene and died several hours later of multiple organ failure, the officials said, adding that a blood sample taken after death showed he had been infected with the bacterium.
The other man was admitted to the hospital in late July after complaining of pain in his legs. When he was diagnosed with the bacterial strain, he had already developed gangrene. He died several days later, the officials said.
The strain was first reported in the United States in 1987 and first observed in Japan in 1992. It mostly infects people in their 30s or older, with initial symptoms including pain in the hands and legs, fever and low blood pressure.
More than 60 people in Japan were found to be infected with the strain over the past two years, and nearly half of them died, according to a study of more than 2,000 hospitals in the country, conducted by a research group led by Michio Ota, a professor of microbiology at Nagoya University.
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