Nineteen acute and 17 subacute cases of necrotising fasciitis due to beta haemolytic streptococci are described. Excised tissue from seven and four cases, respectively, was available for histological examination. The two clinical types showed remarkable similarities, with inflammation and necrosis from epidermis to subcutaneous fat. Haemorrhage was present in variable amounts in both types. Gram positive cocci were not always identified in tissue, nor cultured, when serological tests were required to confirm the diagnosis. The only apparent difference between the acute and subacute type was the higher incidence of thrombi in some blood vessels of acute cases, whereas patent vessels or recanalized thrombus were usually found in subacute cases. This quantitative difference in the degree of thrombosis may alone be responsible for the varying clinical features and response to antibiotics.
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