USC Surgery / Conditions / Necrotizing Soft-Tissue Infections

Necrotizing soft-tissue infections are rare, aggressive, fast-moving bacterial infections. The invading bacteria destroy muscle, skin and other body tissues, which is why they are often called flesh-eating bacteria. When these infections do occur, it is usually in people who have had a recent surgery or otherwise have a compromised immune system. They often start under the skin and first show up as a warm, red, sore spot. Later on, the area will become very painful, and the skin over it may blister or ooze.

Other symptoms include:

• High fever with chills and sweating
• Poor response to antibiotics
• Nausea
• Dizziness
• Weakness or fatigue
• Reduced or infrequent urination

A necrotizing soft-tissue infection is always an emergency. If you believe you have one, go to an emergency room or urgent care center immediately.