As many as a dozen cases of necrotizing fasciitis — or “flesh-eating disease” — have been reported among older homeless men in Montreal.
According to Public Health, the cases have been caused by streptococcus A, a bacterial infection.
“People whose health is compromised, in this case older men, not women, would be susceptible for it to become flesh-eating disease,” explained Matthew Pearce, president and CEO of the Old Brewery Mission.
“I’m aware that four cases have been diagnosed at the Old Brewery Mission and at least a dozen in Montreal as of last week.”
WATCH BELOW: There have been several cases of flesh-eating disease among the homeless in Montreal. As Global’s Matt Grillo reports, Public Health explains it is caused by streptococcus A.
The Mission says it is working closely with the public health department to make sure the infection does not continue to spread.
“So far, it seems to be manageable, no panic at all,” Pearce told Global News.
“We realize we’re dealing with a very concentrated reality here with lots of people in a small space.”
WATCH BELOW: Helping Montreal’s homeless
Pearce added the Mission has also hired additional cleaners to wipe down door handles.
What are the symptoms of streptococcus A?
Streptococcus A can be easily spread from person to person, especially in areas where large groups gather.
The most common symptoms of streptococcus A include:
- Sore throat that starts very quickly
- Pain when swallowing
- Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
- Tiny, red spots on the roof of the mouth
- Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck
The infection can be treated with antibiotics.