Alert in Japan for a rare “flesh-eating” infection


By John

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has issued a “warning” over rising cases of a rare but serious type of bacterial infection. To date they have surpassed more than half of last year's tally – 88 in the capital alone – along with 517 infections nationwide. This was reported by The Japan Times. Concerns over the spread of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS), often nicknamed the “flesh-eating disease”, reportedly prompted North Korea to cancel a soccer match with Japan that was due to take place in Pyongyang.

In severe cases this infection can cause necrosis of the connective tissues covering the muscles and had a mortality rate of around 30% of infected individuals in 2023, “an extremely high rate”. At a city meeting on infectious disease control on Friday, it was revealed that Tokyo had 88 patients as of March 17. In all of 2023, the capital reported a total of 141 cases and 42 deaths linked to infections. Tokyo urged people to seek medical attention immediately if they experience symptoms such as pain and swelling in the limbs or fever, indicative of this type of infection. Group A Streptococcus is spread through respiratory droplets and direct contact. But also through injuries to the hands or feet. Health authorities strongly advise adhering to preventive measures such as regular hand washing and proper wound care. A variant called the M1UK strain, considered highly transmissible among group A strep bacteria, is believed to be linked to the cases. According to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, people of all ages can be infected.