He has treated more than a thousand patients for the disease, both in Australia and abroad. In Australia, many of them are older, but others are young teachers, workers, and even children.
He gently measures their injuries with a ruler, marking them so that they can follow their progress. Although they may seem like nightmares, some people have ulcers that eat up to the bone, but most patients describe them as painless. The toxin that eats meat produced by bacteria causes a special horror. It “weakens the immune response,” numbs the meat it consumes. Dr. O’Brien said of the bacterium: “It really is quite an unusual organism,” ավոր a terrible enemy.
In Mr. Courtney’s case, the ulcer sank in the upper half of his leg before doctors could diagnose it. They then performed surgeries to remove the necrotic, concrete-like tissue. “Until you get rid of that dead body, the skin will never heal,” said Dr. Adrian Moore, a clinician who treated Mr. Courtney.
Other patients with less severe cases sometimes refuse treatment, preferring natural remedies such as heat and clay. Although the body can sometimes fight small sores, such treatments can be really dangerous in serious cases, says Dr. O’Brien.
In most cases, the course of treatment is antibiotics. In the past, the disease was mostly treated with surgery, but the prognosis with better drugs has improved significantly in recent years. “Antibiotics were thought to be ineffective,” said Dr. O’Brien. “Because it actually gets worse before it gets better.”
Prevention is still almost impossible.
“We do not know how to stop it,” he said. But if the answer can be found anywhere, he said, it is in Australia.
For Mr. Courtney, the fight against the disease is far from over. Doctors expect her treatment to last at least another six months.