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Montreal homeless falling victim to aggressive strep bacteria causing flesh-eating disease

Montreal homeless contracting strep virus, flesh-eating disease
WATCH ABOVE: 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.

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.

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“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.

Montreal homeless contracting strep virus, flesh-eating disease
Montreal homeless contracting strep virus, flesh-eating disease

The Mission says it is working closely with the public health department to make sure the infection does not continue to spread.

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“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.”

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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.

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The most common symptoms of streptococcus A include:

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  • Sore throat that starts very quickly
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Fever
  • 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

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The infection can be treated with antibiotics.