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GROUP A STREP STRIKES AGAIN IN COLORADO

SHARE GROUP A STREP STRIKES AGAIN IN COLORADO

Doctors reported another Colorado victim of a "flesh-eating" infection Wednesday, the third this month.

The tissue-killing Group A streptococcal bacteria forced surgeons to remove part of a woman's neck and right upper torso, including her right breast, a hospital spokeswoman said.The patient, a 34-year-old woman from Denver, was transferred from St. Anthony Hospital North to Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center earlier this week after she was diagnosed Sunday with the bacteria.

Doctors removed the infected tissue Tuesday.

A 51-year-old woman also being treated at Presbyterian/St. Luke's has lost both legs, her left breast and left arm to the bacteria, which causes necrotizing fasciitis.

The third patient, a child, has not been hospitalized.

Both women are in the hospital's intensive care unit in critical condition.

Hospital officals said they believe a wound became infected with strep A in the younger woman.

The names of the patients have been withheld at the families' request, hospital spokeswoman Carolyn Little said.

No further surgery is scheduled for either patient.

Hospital officials reiterated that the sometimes deadly sickness is not uncommon and the recent worldwide accounts of people infected with the bacteria don't mean there's a dangerous outbreak.

"We have to keep in mind that these are isolated cases, and there's no connection between any of them that we know of," Little said.

Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center is equipped with a hyperbaric chamber to help patients stricken with the bacteria. The chamber provides an oxygen-rich environment, helping kill the infection and aiding the damaged tissue's recovery.

Physicians have cautioned people to thoroughly clean cuts and scrapes to help prevent infection.

The bacteria can produce a toxin that poisons the skin and can destroy as much as an inch of human tissue an hour if untreated. The bacteria would likely enter through an abrasion. If caught early, it can be controlled with penicillin.