A 77-year-old woman was infected by flesh-eating bacteria and died almost two weeks after she fell and scraped her leg while walking on a Florida beach, her family said Monday.
Fleming's family says she cut her let after falling as she was walking Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island on the west coast of Florida. The wound swelled up and continued to bleed, leading her to urgent care, where she was prescribed antibiotics and given a tetanus shot.
The next day friends found her semiconscious in her home and rushed her to a hospital.
The Ellenton woman became infected with this deadly bacteria after scraping her leg while walking along Coquina Beach on June 10.
Recent cases of flesh-eating bacteria have left families with traumatizing experiences after spending time in the Florida waters. "She had a small little 3-, 4-inch long cut on her shin bone".
His wife said her mother-in-law died after walking on "the place she loved".
Her son Wade said he and his wife Traci managed to reduce the swelling.
Wade and Traci Fleming returned to Florida to be with Lynn Fleming while she was on life support. "We're not telling people not to go the beach, just to be educated", he said.
A CAT scan showed she had suffered strokes, he said.
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A 12-year-old girl from IN visiting Florida IN June with her family also contracted the flesh-eating disease, but she survived.
"She couldn't wait to get down here and retire", she said.
Professors at University of South Florida tell us vibrio vulnificus thrives in warm water, but it's best to assume it is always in the water as it is natural occurring.
That said, cases of Necrotizing Fasciitis are extremely rare.
People with compromised immune systems, liver disease, kidney disease and other conditions are more vulnerable to the infection, and should wear proper foot protection to prevent cuts and injury caused by rocks and shells on the beach, according to the health department, which notes, "If you are healthy with a strong immune system, your chances of developing or having complications due to this condition are extremely low".
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that of the roughly 700-1,200 people who annually contract flesh-eating bacteria at the beach or elsewhere, one in three will perish.
The state agency does not test waterways for vibrio, but they test cultures from people who are diagnosed with the bacteria. Although more than one type of bacteria can eat the flesh in this way, public health experts believe that group A Streptococcus bacteria are the most common cause of these infections.
Doctors say if you have an open wound and you've been in the water, look for early warning signs, including fever, severe pain and a rapidly spreading swollen area.