EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- Health officials in Vanderburgh County are warning residents about a rise in Group A Strep cases.

“We are seeing some really bad cases, I can confirm that in Evansville. We are seeing very severe cases of this,” says Dr. JoAnn Wood, Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, Deaconess Health System.

“It is particularly alarming that we are seeing it in young healthy patients,” says Dr. Heidi Dunniway, Regional Chief Medical Officer, Ascension St. Vincent Evansville.

Group A Strep is the same bacteria that causes strep throat. However, doctors say that this strain is behaving different.

“It is also penetrating deeper into the back of the throat, instead of causing an abscess that needs to be drained. For example, it is going around the tissue planes and causing swelling deep in the neck and other parts of the body as well,” says Dr. Julie Wohrley, Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Deaconess.

“This particular bacteria is evading the soft tissue in people’s bodies really quickly and creating what we call necrotizing fasciitis,” says Dr. Wood.

In some patients, this infection is leading to severe complications, including necrotizing, also known as flesh eating bacteria.

“It progresses so rapidly, so it evolves over the course of a couple of hours. You might see it expand centimeters at a time,” says Dr. Wood.

In the past week, Deaconess and Ascension St. Vincent say they saw several patients with necrotizing fasciitis and required surgery. Doctors say that some of the patients were healthy adults and became sick in a matter of hours.

Some patients report experiencing a new sore throat with either a fever or neck pain, and a cut or wound that is showing signs of infection. Doctors say to make an appointment if you experience any of these symptoms.

“Don’t blow it off. Seek treatment and get it checked out. If you have a read area on your skin and it is quickly progressing, if you are having pain away from that area, if you are having any fever or chills, you need to get it checked out sooner rather than later,” says Dr. Dunniway