Flesh-eating Disease Fells Israeli

A 23-year-old Israeli man died at Haifa’s Rambam hospital this week of the rare “flesh-eating” disease.

Dr. Renato Finkelstein, head of Rambam’s infectious diseases department, said Arik Lev of Ma’alot in northern Israel had died Sunday morning.

He said the formal name of the aliment is “Invasive group A Streptococcus, with necrotizing fasciitis.” It manifests itself by killing cells in nerves or blood vessels and destroying muscle and tissue.

Finkelstein said Lev’s case was isolated, the first in Israel of which he was aware in 15 years. He did know how Lev had contracted it.

“This is one of the very rare clinical presentations of the disease, caused by this microorganism,” he told Israel Radio.

“We don’t know why this young man caught the disease.”

Finkelstein said chances of infection were very small. Media reported that Lev had suffered from flu symptoms about a week ago, and only entered a hospital when his leg became swollen.

The disease is treatable, said Finkelstein, but recovery rates are low.

“In most cases, the outcome is not good, and the patient dies within 24 to 48 hours,” he said.

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