Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bicolanos alarmed by Pangasinan flesh-eating illness

Alarm over a flesh-eating illness in Pangasinan has spread in the Bicol Region.

Bicolanos alarmed by Pangasinan flesh-eating illness
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On social media, images of the mystery disease have gone viral.

The fear is compounded by a prophecy announced by self-proclaimed Indian prophet Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj in April 2013.

Said prophecy reads: "“The Lord says there is a place called Pangasinan. The Lord says it is in the northernmost part in your land. From there a grievous disease will spread all over the world. That will consume the flesh of men; all their upper (outer) skin will begin to decay. It will pierce through the bones. The fear of this disease will spread all over the world. The Lord said that this (disease) will begin from the Philippines. This will then spread to Cebu.”
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It will be recalled that in December, there had already been reports of the flesh-eating disease in the town of San Fabian in Pangasinan.

Dr. Eranio Garcia, the town's Municipal Health Officer, however, dismissed the claims of alarmists who back then had already cited Sadhu's prediction as the cause of their near demise.

Garcia, in a statement, said that no one in the town had died from the disease. However, he did mention that he knows of an illness related to a flesh-eating bacteria that was recorded previously in the United States.

Necrotizing fasciitis

As of the time of this writing, the Department of Health has not released an official statement on the report, which has been trending since last night on social media.

There are, however, speculations that the disease, which last night's report dubs as a mystery illness, is called necrotizing fasciitis.

Necrotizing fasciitis is an infection of the skin due to bacteria.

It is said that while the illness is commonly called a "flesh-eating" disease, the bacteria does not in fact consume the skin tissue. Rather, the bacteria destroys the skin, fat, and tissue by means of toxins.
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The bacteria enters the skin through cuts, insect bites and abrasions.

Among its symptoms are pain, intense thirst, diarrhea, fever, dizziness, swelling, blisters, and gangrene.

The disease is treated by means of antibiotics, blood transfusions, surgery, and amputation.

Despite the alarm that the mystery illness has caused, doctors say that necrotizing fasciitis is a very rare disease.

Meanwhile, there are also speculations that the disease is linked to leprosy or psoriasis.
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