Japan sees surge in ‘flesh-eating bacteria’ cases

 Streptococcal Toxic Shock-like Syndrome is caused by a bacterial infection
Streptococcal Toxic Shock-like Syndrome is caused by a bacterial infection
Streptococcal Toxic Shock-like Syndrome(STSS) is a possibly fatal condition caused by a highly invasive bacteria.

In Japan, where the number of STSS cases recorded annually is usually around 100, data released last week by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases raised some eyebrows: Through August 9, the total has reached 279, a figure that already exceeds the 273 recorded for all of 2014.

Oh, and it gets worse.

With transmission of the bacteria occurring via direct contact or through the exchange of moisture (as in coughing or sneezing), evening tabloid Nikkan Gendai (Aug. 21) ominously says that there is precedent for oral sex to be a cause.

In 2014, Akifumi Nakayama, a professor in the Microbial Sciences department at the Gifu University of Medical Science, contributed a paper for the Japanese Society of Clinical Microbiology introducing one such case in which a male customer from a fuzoku parlor began experiencing incredible pain in his genital area after a blow-job session.

“By the following day, the pain had increased,” wrote Nakayama. “At 9:30 a.m., he was unable to work. After a visit to a local doctor, he was hospitalized.”

Initial symptoms often include swollen limbs, stinging pains in the tongue and throat, and a red rash across the entire body. After an incubation period of between two and five days, a patient’s temperature may exceed 38 degrees centigrade.

In a matter of hours, muscle tissue may then begin to degrade, a symptom which has spurred “flesh-eating bacteria” to be used in media reports describing the affliction. The body may then go into shock and multiple organs could fail. The fatality rate is 30 percent.

In the case described by Nakayama, the patient subsequently suffered impairment of the liver and kidneys. According to the professor, his penis also turned dark red and began to ooze pus.

For cases involving average streptococcus bacteria, which would not include the “flesh-eating” variety, the treatment is antibiotics. But for STSS cases, the invasive nature of the bacteria requires treatment that goes beyond the administration of such drugs. In the example presented by Nakayama, the man survived after undergoing a surgical treatment in his genital area.

For Tokyo, the metropolis that currently tops Japan with 44 cases, worry not. Nakayama says that the example he presented is a very rare case.

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare also does not seem overly concerned. An official tells TV Asahi (Aug. 18): “From now, we will be monitoring any sign of an outbreak closely.”

Yet Nikkan Gendai advises any reader experiencing unusual symptoms to visit a doctor immediately. (A.T.)

Source: “Ooraru SEX demo kansen chishi-ritsu 30-paasento ‘hitokuibakuteria’ no kyofu,” Nikkan Gendai (Aug. 21, page 5)

Note: Brief extracts from Japanese vernacular media in the public domain that appear here were translated and summarized under the principle of “fair use.” Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of the translations. However, we are not responsible for the veracity of their contents. The activities of individuals described herein should not be construed as “typical” behavior of Japanese people nor reflect the intention to portray the country in a negative manner. Our sole aim is to provide examples of various types of reading matter enjoyed by Japanese.

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