Necrotizing Fasciitis and Death Following an Insect Bite

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A healthy man who presented to hospital with painful swelling of the left arm following a history of insect (tick) bite developed shock and died within 48 hours. The postmortem examination revealed swelling and desquamation of skin and erythema on the left arm extending below the elbow. The subcutaneous tissue was necrotic with healthy underlying muscles. Group A β-hemolytic streptococcus was isolated from postmortem swabs of the infected tissue. Histopathologic changes were consistent with necrotizing fasciitis.

Secondary bacterial infection is an important possible complication following insect bite, and a high degree of suspicion with aggressive early treatment is required in cases of necrotizing fasciitis to prevent fatalities. Both clinicians and pathologists need to be aware of this rare, rapidly fatal condition that may follow an insect bite.

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