BACKGROUND: Little is known about the national population-based incidence rates of necrotizing fasciitis (NF) and related epidemiological profiles in Asian countries. We plastic surgeons always face and treat this complicated disease in the first line at the hospital. METHODS: Using Taiwan's National Health Insurance inpatient claims data from 2005 through 2010, we investigated the national annual incidence rate of NF by sex, age, year, month, beneficiary category, and region. RESULTS: The overall average annual incidence rate (cases per 100,000 population) of those 6 years of inpatients with NF was 11.6 (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.4-11.8) for both sexes, 14.9 (95% CI, 14.9-15.5) for males, and 8.3 (95% CI, 7.9-8.3) for females. The age-adjusted annual incidence rate was 10.7 (95% CI, 10.3-11.1) in 2005 and 12.3 (95% CI, 11.9-12.8) in 2010. The annual incidence rate increased with age, peaked in August, was the highest in southern Taiwan, and correlated with monthly temperature. CONCLUSIONS: The annual incidence rate of NF in Taiwan was highest between 2005 and 2009 and slightly lower in 2010 in this study. Although additional studies are needed to identify modifiable risk factors associated with NF, the aforementioned risk factors alert the first line doctors, such as plastic surgeons, to pay much more attention to this complicated disease entity and make an accurate critical decision making for the patients.
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