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article imageWoman dies from flesh-eating bacteria in Florida's ocean waters

By Karen Graham     Jul 1, 2019 in Health
In early June, a 12-year-old girl, vacationing with her family at Destin Beach, Florida contracted a flesh-eating bacteria that nearly killed her. On June 14, a Florida woman contracted the same disease off Santa Maria Island and was dead two weeks later.
On June 20, Digital Journal reported on a study describing five cases of severe flesh-eating bacterial infections in people who were exposed to water or seafood from the Delaware Bay, which sits between Delaware and New Jersey.
Flesh-eating bacterial infections are usually caused by Group A strept, but the disease can also be caused by Vibrio vulnificus - a species of Gram-negative, motile, curved rod-shaped pathogenic bacteria of the genus Vibrio. The bacterium is found in marine environments such as estuaries, brackish ponds, or coastal areas where the water temperatures are above 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius).
The authors of the study warned physicians that V. vulnificus infections are occurring more frequently outside traditional geographic areas in coastal waters of the United States, in part, due to warming ocean temperatures caused by the climate crisis.
43-year-old Caucasian male with necrotizing fasciitis. Preoperative photograph on the day of admissi...
43-year-old Caucasian male with necrotizing fasciitis. Preoperative photograph on the day of admission. Extensive erythema and necrosis of the left leg.
A 12-year-old girl lived to tell the tale
When 12-year-old Kylei Brown's family went vacationing to Destin Beach, Florida earlier this month, no one thought that the little scrape Kylei had gotten on her big toe while riding her skateboard a few days earlier would be a problem, reports the Indy Star.
But on June 9, Brown walked in the waves, with the water just up to her ankles. Less than a day later, she started complaining about a pain in her leg that traveled throughout her body and became more intense over time, her mother, Michelle Brown wrote in a Facebook post.
They returned home to Indiana and rushed Kylei to the local hospital emergency room. There, the doctors diagnosed her with necrotizing fasciitis, a rare flesh-eating bacteria that can be fatal, even with treatment. Kylei spent time in the intensive care unit at Riley Hospital for Children, but she was very fortunate.
Destin Beach  Florida
Destin Beach, Florida
Destin Marketing
Kylei Brown was actually fortunate on two fronts said her doctors. Not only did she survive her illness, but she also did so without losing any limbs. As it is, the young girl underwent three surgeries to remove necrotic tissue and she is still on antibiotics. She will have to do physical therapy to get herself walking on her own again.
Florida woman dies two weeks after cutting leg while wading
Carolyn Fleming — who went by Lynn — of Ellenton, Florida, fell into a small dip in the water while wading n the waters off Anna Maria Island in Florida on June 14.
The fall left her with a three-quarter inch cut on her left leg, according to her son and daughter-in-law, Wade and Traci Fleming, who were with her that day. The severity of Fleming's wound began to escalate by June 16. Her leg was red and swollen and her friends forced her to go to an urgent care facility, where she received a tetanus shot and an antibiotic.
The next day, her left shin was black. “Her friends found her pretty much unconscious and on her bedroom floor,” Traci Fleming said. “They called an ambulance.”
Vibriosis causes an estimated 80 000 illnesses in the United States every year.
Vibriosis causes an estimated 80,000 illnesses in the United States every year.
NBC News reports that on June 27, Lynn Fleming died after suffering two strokes and organ failure during surgeries to save her leg, Traci Fleming said. She was 77.
Necrotizing fasciitis
Usually, Group A strep is the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis. However, Vibrio vulnificus can also be implicated. In an email to the Indy Star, a spokesman from the Florida Department of Health said the agency had no indication that V. vulnificus had caused Kylei's infection. The spokesperson added that there were no public health concerns related to Vibrio in the Destin area.
Necrotizing fasciitis, or flesh-eating disease, kills body tissue. Often these infections can be treated with antibiotics, but the dead tissue must sometimes be removed surgically or the associated limb amputated to keep the infection from spreading. The bloodstream infection leads to death in 20 percent of cases, according to the CDC.
More about Florida, vibrio vulnificus, flesheating bacteria, ocean waters, Climate crisis
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