Flesh-Eating Bacteria Kills Maine Student

Monday, 23 Jun 2014 05:10 PM

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A Maine high school student who died in February after undergoing a routine dental procedure was killed by a rare flesh-eating bacteria, Fox News reports.

According to the medical examiner's office, 18-year-old Benjamin LaMontagne, who attended Cheverus High School in Bangor, contracted necrotizing fasciitis following a procedure to remove his wisdom teeth.
 
Following the operation, he had a lot of swelling, then three days later became weak and dizzy. His mother, Lynn, called 911 after her son had stopped breathing. Shortly after rescue workers arrived at the family’s home in Long Island, Maine, they pronounced him dead.

The condition is a rare but extremely aggressive disease that destroys the connective tissue right underneath the skin that surrounds muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. It can be caused by several types of bacteria, notably group A Streptococcus, when they enter the body through a break in the skin.  While these bacteria are normally treated easily, they can sometimes produce toxins that destroy fascia tissue.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that healthy people who practice good hygiene are at a very low risk of contracting the disease and that such an infection occurring after a dental procedure is considered extremely rare.

"I have not heard of anything like that, with necrotizing fasciitis as a result of routine oral surgery extractions," John Molinari, M.D., infection control expert for the American Dental Association, told Bangor Daily News.

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