BLACK TAR HEROIN USERS HIT BY `FLESH-EATING'-TYPE DISEASE.
Byline: Associated Press
Mexican black tar heroin Black tar heroin is a variety of heroin produced primarily in Mexico, but similar in appearance and texture to so called Home Bake Heroin from New Zealand. It is the most prevalent form of heroin in the western United States. is blamed for an illness similar to the so-called ``flesh-eating bacteria'' that has been diagnosed in more than two dozen San Francisco Bay Area “Bay Area” redirects here. For other uses, see Bay Area (disambiguation).
The San Francisco Bay Area, colloquially known as the Bay Area or The Bay drug users.
Two people have died and others have undergone surgeries to remove massive amounts of tissue from their bodies, including the amputation amputation (ăm'pyətā`shən), removal of all or part of a limb or other body part. Although amputation has been practiced for centuries, the development of sophisticated techniques for treatment and prevention of infection has greatly of one Contra Costa County woman's hand.
Mexican black tar heroin is the most commonly sold form of the drug in the Western United States Noun 1. western United States - the region of the United States lying to the west of the Mississippi River
Santa Fe Trail - a trail that extends from Missouri to New Mexico; an important route for settlers moving west in the 19th century and also one of the most impure.
``We don't know why black tar heroin,'' said Dr. James Watt of the San Francisco Public Health Department. ``It could be the way the drug is prepared. It could also be something that is inherent in the heroin.''
Health officials are reluctant to say that the recent illnesses are in fact the ``flesh-eating bacteria,'' a fast-acting strain of a common and usually benign germ, Group A streptococcus group A streptococcus
A common but virulent streptococcus that kills the tissue it infects and produces toxins that trigger a form of shock that affects the vital organs. , that can penetrate the body and destroy tissue.
But health officials say the infections resemble the ``flesh-eating bacteria,'' especially the destruction of skin and muscle tissue. The bacteria appears to be just one of the germs responsible for the current surge of infections among heroin users.
Some other contaminant may be in the heroin that allows germs in the body, needle or environment to take hold, said Dr. Mark Wille, chief of internal medicine at Contra Costa County's Merrithew Memorial Hospital.
The disease becomes a risk only after it is introduced through injection. The symptoms include redness, pain or swelling at the injection site and fever or chills.
The infection appears to fester fester /fes·ter/ (fes´ter) to suppurate superficially.
1. To ulcerate.
2. To form pus; putrefy.
An ulcer. for a day or two, creating a painful, red and swollen abscess abscess, localized inflamation associated with tissue necrosis. Abscesses are characterized by inflamation, which is due to the accumulation of pus in the local tissues, and often painful swelling. . Such abscesses are common among drug users and are usually not serious.
But the more dangerous variety starts the same way and then rapidly spreads along the body's connective tissue, doctors say.
If unchecked, the disease spreads throughout the body and turns lethal.
The infections, so far, have appeared only in people who inject black tar heroin under their skin or into their muscles.