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'I Almost Lost My Leg or My Life:' Man Gets Flesh-Eating Bacteria at Beach



An an Alabama man said he almost died after contracting flesh-eating bacteria during a trip to the beach

"I almost lost my leg or my life," Tony Meredith of Colquitt told WKRG

Meredith's family recently took an annual trip to Panama City Beach, but five days later he experienced flu-like symptoms. The initial diagnosis was a kidney infection-until his leg turned purple.

After rising to the hospital, Meredith was placed on triage and soon diagnosed with the bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis.

"The skin is the body's most important barrier to infection," Dr. Andrew Sawyer said

"Any violation of that skin, even something as small as a scratch has the potential to increase the potential for waterborne infection."

Meredith said he wanted to warn people to be careful. "Anybody that's going to the beach, they really need to be really cautious before getting in the sand or the water," he said. "I never thought it would happen to me."

Treating necrotizing fasciitis in a photograph photograph. (CDC)

Necrotizing Fasciitis

"Accurate diagnosis, rapid diagnosis and diagnosis" antibiotic treatment, and prompt surgery are important to stopping this infection. See the doctor right away if you have a fever, dizziness, or nausea soon after an injury or surgery, "it said.

The bacteria most commonly enter the body through a break in the skin, including cuts and scrapes, insect bites , and burns

Symptoms include a red or swollen area of ​​skin that spreads rapidly, fever, and severe pain, including pain beyond the area of ​​the skin that is red or swollen

"Necrotizing fasciitis is a very serious illness that requires care in a hospital. Antibiotics and surgery are typically the first lines of defense if a doctor suspects a patient has necrotizing fasciitis. Since necrotizing fasciitis can spread so rapidly, patients often need to get surgery done very quickly. "Sometimes, however, antibiotics can not reach all of the infected areas because the bacteria have killed too much tissue and reduced blood flow. When this happens, doctors have to surgically remove the dead tissue. It is not unusual for someone with necrotizing fasciitis to end up requiring multiple surgeries.

Streptococcus pyogenes (group A Streptococcus) on Gram stains.

Rash of Cases

Along with cases in Florida, Texas, Alabama, people have contracted flesh-eating bacteria recently in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. water that stays warm, specifically over 55 degrees, could potentially have something like that happen, "Dr. Jessica Drake, an ER doctor with AdventHealth, told WLOS

While experts warn people to be cautious if they have broken skin, cases are still not common

"Even though there is a panic right now, because we're seeing it in places we have not before, it's still very rare, "said Drake. "The big thing is not going into bodies of water that are warm if you have a big open wound."

The CDC said there are between 700 and 1,200 cases nationwide each year. , where a father of six died after he went crabbing and contracted the bacteria

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber


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