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Necrotising Fasciitis
Necrotising Fasciitis and Chickenpox

Necrotising Fasciitis and Chickenpox

Necrotising fasciitis is a rare but potentially deadly complication of chickenpox. If necrotising fasciitis develops after chickenpox, the patient requires immediate hospital admission, intravenous antibiotics and surgery.


Chickenpox is a virus caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It is very common in children and causes itchy spots to appear on the skin. There is no cure for chickenpox and treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms, particularly easing the itching. The illness will clear up of its own accord within a few days.

Infected chickenpox blisters

Chickenpox rarely causes serious complications, especially in children. Adults who develop chickenpox are more at risk of getting further health problems such as pneumonia. Even so, only 5% to 14% of adults with chickenpox are admitted to hospital.

Perhaps the most common complication of chickenpox is bacteria getting into the blisters. As mentioned above, chickenpox causes spots to appear across the body. If these open up perhaps because they are itched excessively a blister will form.

Blisters are vulnerable to infection, as the bacteria that exist all around us can easily get into the open wound. The bacteria will then begin to multiply, leaving the patient with a bacterial infection.

Chickenpox and necrotising fasciitis

There are various types of bacterial infection. A rare but severe type of bacterial infection is necrotising fasciitis.

Necrotising fasciitis is a very aggressive infection and will cause tissue death within hours of being introduced to the body. To prevent widespread tissue death, the patient must be admitted to hospital without delay.

In hospital, intravenous antibiotics and fluids must be administered. The patient must also undergo emergency surgery to remove all the dead tissue. This is called debridement surgery.

Further reconstructive surgery may be required to salvage the limbs, if they have been affected by the disease. Organ support may also be necessary, depending upon how unwell the patient is.

Failure to treat necrotising fasciitis after chickenpox

Necrotising fasciitis is known to be associated with chickenpox, and indeed with the varicella-zoster virus. Therefore when a patient who has recently had chickenpox presents with the symptoms of necrotising fasciitis, it should not take medical practitioners long to make an accurate diagnosis.

If there is an unacceptable delay in diagnosing and treating necrotising fasciitis, there could be a substandard level of care. If this causes a patient to suffer further tissue death and critical complications, there could be a case of medical negligence.

Please contact us for more information on pursue a claim for medical negligence compensation.

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