Mysterious Outbreak (04:37)
Two Chalford residents reported to Stroud Hospital for minor procedures only to be infected with necrotizing fasciitis, a type of life-threatening gangrene. A British journalist learned of the flesh-eating bug that had stricken the town and covered the story.
Investigation and Sterilization (03:32)
Investigators suspected the region might be dealing with a streptococcal outbreak. Streptococcus is common—10% of the population carries the bacteria in their throats and noses; one in 100 has it between their toes. It can be fatal.
Communitywide Outbreak? (02:03)
The operating room at Stroud Hospital was declared infection free and reopened. A third case of necrotizing fasciitis was identified three days later, requiring a retired local doctor to have his leg amputated. Other agencies became involved with the threat of an epidemic looming.
News Media Coverage Intensifies Panic (06:55)
A woman became ill and died from necrotizing fasciitis on a train ride home from Scotland. The next month, the infection killed two more at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. A seventh victim was treated with massive doses of antibiotics.
Searching for Root Cause (05:21)
Local churches prayed for victims. Investigators searched for links between individual cases, but there had been no physical connections between the last five cases. Theories circulated among locals, and the outbreak quickly became an issue for the local Green Party.
Killer Bug Threat Over? (05:40)
Hysteria surrounding the outbreak stopped once no further clusters of the flesh-eating bug were identified. Fear of necrotizing fasciitis had been disproportionate when compared to salmonella, tuberculosis, and other infections that claim more lives.
Credits: QED: Curse of the Killer Bug (00:36)
Credits: QED: Curse of the Killer Bug
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