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flesh-eating bacteria

A strain of Group A streptococcus which, in severe cases, can destroy tissue as fast as surgeons can cut it out. The rapid destruction of tissue caused by these bacteria is localized, so it is unlikely to be caused by a general overstimulation of the immune system by, for example, superantigen exotoxin A. Instead, the invasive strains of strep A probably have other toxin(s) such as exotoxin B, an enzyme (i.e. a cysteine protease) that destroys tissue by breaking down protein. (Ref: Science 264:1665, 1994)

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