What does the flesh-eating bacteria eat?

I seem to recall hearing that the strep strain that causes necrotizing faciitis is not really “eating” the flesh. It just so happens that one of the bacteria’s by-products is very similar in nature to digestive enzymes, which causes the “flesh-eating” symptom.

True? If so, that what does the bacteria actually feed on, and would it be no more serious than it’s more common cousings if it weren’t for the incidental presence of these destructive toxins?

don’t bacteria ‘eat’ by secreating enyzmens into their suroundings, wait for them to breakdown the food and absorb the nutrients

Hmmmm. I dunno. According to the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation (ie Flesh Eating Bacteria) website, the little buggers basically gets into the body through an open sore or surgery or suchlike, breeds like bunnies, and produces enzymes which kill soft tissue, coming close to killing the patient in a couple of days. Yeech.
I’d equivocate the production of enzymes with eating, although it doesn’t actually say that they gain sustenance (sp?) from your body.
Check out http://www.nnff.org/nnff_what.htm for more info. And theres some lovely pics in the links section, which saved me the trouble of deciding what to have for lunch.

I would expect that, like most bacteria, it absorbs nutrients from the surrounding medium, whatever that may be. Bacteria don’t need much to live on - some sugars and a few other elements, depending on the species. The human body is rich in nutrients just floating around. Pure educated speculation here, but I’d imagine that the flesh-eating toxin helps the bacteria by releasing nutrients into the surrounding area.