Say what? 'Flesh-eating bacteria' explained
The microscopic Aeromonas hydrophila is found in freshwater or brackish water environments, according to the FDA.
May 14th, 2012
10:06 AM ET

Say what? 'Flesh-eating bacteria' explained

It sounds like something out of a horror film - a micro-organism that enters through an open wound and begins to consume your body from the inside out.

Unfortunately flesh-eating bacteria, or necrotizing fasciitis, isn't fiction. Aimee Copeland, a 24-year-old graduate student from Georgia, is fighting for her life in an Augusta hospital after contracting one type known as aeromonas hydrophila during a zip line adventure.

Aeromonas hydrophila is found in most, if not all, freshwater or brackish water environments (water that contains salt but is not saltwater), according to the Food and Drug Administration's "Bad Bug Book."

It is sometimes swallowed by swimmers, causing stomach or intestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. It can also be found in fish and shellfish. The severity of the gastrointestinal infection depends on your immune system's ability to fight it off, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Aeromonas hydrophila can also enter the body through an open wound, as happened in the Copeland case. When that occurs the flesh-eating bacteria quickly reproduces, giving off toxins that destroy skin and soft tissue. Such bacteria is adept at hiding from the body's immune system, according to the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation.

If necrotizing fasciitis is detected early, only skin or fat may need to be removed. But if the infection is detected later, amputation may be necessary to stop the spread of the bacteria.

Dr. William Schaffner, president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, says when Aeromonas hydrophila enters through an open wound, early diagnosis is difficult. The bacteria does its damage deep in the tissue and doesn't manifest itself on the skin's surface.

Patients should pay attention to any pain coming from a closed wound, as well as redness or drainage, he told CNN.

The frequency of Aeromonas hydrophilia infections is unknown, the FDA notes, because researchers only recently began trying to collect numbers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year there are about 10,000 U.S. cases of group A streptococcus, a collection of bacteria that includes necrotizing fasciitis. Approximately 20% of the cases of necrotizing fasciitis are fatal, according to the CDC.

soundoff (573 Responses)
  1. palintwit

    I predict that someday soon the Sarah Palin family trailer will become as big a vacation destination as Graceland. It will be called Sarahland. Teabaggers, birthers and evangelicals from the four corners of the bible belt will make the pilgrimage, gladly paying $25, $35, or more for the chance to tour Sarah Palin's trailer and to go out back and see the actual outhouse where she took her morning dump

    May 14, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • HAL-9000

      I think you commented on the wrong story

      May 14, 2012 at 10:43 | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      I predict palintwit will always be the sad one-theme nitwit (s)he is today. Lacking the ability to comment intelligently (or intelligently refrain from commenting) on a variety of current events, but needing the attention (s)he feels commenting in this forum will bring, (s)he turns any article into an opportunity to make an inane digital belch about a has-been politician. Sheesh, if you're going to make idiotic comments, at least make them about something current.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:02 | Report abuse |
    • RM

      Rather pay & see where she dumped thanto go to where the dump resides at hte White House!
      My 3 legged blind dog can do a better job of president.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
    • TWM

      Funniest thing is she would be a far superior President than what we got saddled with.
      Obama is a lot like the flesh eating bacteria, slowly attacking the middle class until there is no meat left.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:49 | Report abuse |
    • Granger

      wow...you're a legend in your own mind...

      May 14, 2012 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • GOP RIP

      I totally see the connection. Sarah Palin and her teabag friends are worse than a flesh eating virus.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:14 | Report abuse |
    • llotz

      I predict it is a rarity that anyone really cares about what Ed has to say, lol.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:21 | Report abuse |
    • Ron in California

      I predict there will always be ignorant name callers on the left. You have proven i am correct.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
    • dhondi

      can you see how the part of your name after palin applies to you?

      May 14, 2012 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      You are one deranged mOrOn, go get your meds and jump in a hole

      May 14, 2012 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • MK2

      I I predict Palintwit will soon drop the name Palin from his moniker and simply be referred to as twit.

      May 14, 2012 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
    • Tr1Xen

      I agree with HAL-9000 here. Wrong article!

      May 14, 2012 at 13:26 | Report abuse |
    • Tr1Xen

      @RM Agreed, I think she singlehandedly cost John McCain the 2008 election.

      May 14, 2012 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
    • Charles in Des Moines

      Hey Ron.....it appears name calling isn't only limited to the left, in fact, as a regular listener of right wing talk, I would say that they are pretty lame compared to those on the right, especially of the Evangelical sects and money worshipers. But in your case, you proved that point well. Keep it classy Ron, and have a great day.

      May 14, 2012 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
    • jojo

      are we talking politics or sports. in sports half the particpants lose the other half win. Ideally, shouldnt democracy and its corresponding politics benefit the MAJORITY. those who subscribe to partisan politics are funding this WWE wrestiling match disguised as government. our founding fathers were against patisan politics for this reason. Its not a sport and to view it as such is to lose sight of democracy

      May 14, 2012 at 13:41 | Report abuse |
    • rtbrno65

      Geez, could this be less relevant to the story?

      May 14, 2012 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      jojo, we live in a consti-tutional republic, not a democracy.

      May 14, 2012 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
    • dakota2000

      Sarah Palin is a saint don't you know. She got a black man elected in 2008. That must count as at least one miracle.

      May 14, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
    • Pazzophoto

      I'm ready when can I go?

      May 14, 2012 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
  2. dmnewsi

    LOL @ Palintwit!

    May 14, 2012 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fox

      Wood holds bacteria in the grain as well in the nicks and cuts from your knife it's kind to your knife blade, tho.Plastic bodars can hold bacteria in nicks and cuts but the answer to that is to put it through your dishwasher like they do in restaurants. Once again, it is kind to your knife blades.Never use glass or ceramic for chopping, cutting or carving as they will damage your knives.Since I am always cooking on location and I need to protect my knives they are expensive, I use disposable bodars as well as the flexible ones that you can buy for about $4.00 for a pack of three. They work great and all I have to do is pick them up, curve them in the middle and pour the contents in the pan or zip bag. I use them on counter tops wherever I go and they cause no damage and I clean them with Clorox Clean-up and rinse well.

      September 14, 2012 at 01:06 | Report abuse |
  3. Mrmagoo

    go spew your politic garbage somewhere else. This article has nothin to do with politics, you moron.

    May 14, 2012 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GOP RIP

      you're the m0r0n, you teabag loving lemming.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
  4. DeeNYC

    Stay out of the woods! We've been working thousands of years and spent countless dollars to get away from nature.

    May 14, 2012 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Irma

      I 2nd that notion

      May 14, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      There is nothing more refreshing than a walk through nature. What's really sad is when someone is so afraid to walk out their door that they don't get to enjoy anything that life has to offer. Better hide under your bed, or the boogieman will come get you.

      May 14, 2012 at 14:31 | Report abuse |
    • Jerome Horowitz

      Seems like you're pretty deep in the woods......

      May 14, 2012 at 14:40 | Report abuse |
  5. Lloyd Christmas

    I like how the dope made the first comment a political jab that is 100% unrelated to this story

    May 14, 2012 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • palintwit

      So how many tickets to Sarahland can I put you down for?

      May 14, 2012 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
  6. paganguy

    There must be tons of misinformation about this bacterial infection.
    I know one person who got it from slipping on a paved road while jogging and hurting an elbow.
    According to Caltrans an open wound and asphalt is involved most every time.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • fireundkrash

      """There must be tons of misinformation about this bacterial infection."""

      Not until YOU posted. Everything you said is misinformation.

      Has nothing to do with roads. Nothing to do with asphalt.

      Caltrans is in California, BTW – not the South.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      Most anyone that gets this flesh eating bacteria dies. Nearly 98%...so for everyone that claims they know someone that had it..my doubts are 98%.

      May 14, 2012 at 13:06 | Report abuse |
    • copanut

      Jeff, I know someone who had it and lived, but it was a close call. The death rate is estimated at over 70%, not 98%, and that's if it is left untreated. I don't know the rates if it is treated, but no doubt it is much lower, probably more like 30%. Nasty stuff.

      May 14, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
    • Kerry

      My uncle had it. He lost both legs and is now in a wheelchair but he's alive and arguably well...except he's got such right-wing political views he's kinda the outcast at family gatherings now that he's moved near family to help with his care.

      May 14, 2012 at 13:57 | Report abuse |
    • peter

      Jeff and copanut – Did you guys finish reading the article? The very last line reads:
      "Approximately 20% of the cases of necrotizing fasciitis are fatal, according to the CDC."
      That means the they think 80% of people who get it survive. Personally, I put more faith (but not much) in the CDC than I do with two guys arguing on the internet.

      May 14, 2012 at 14:10 | Report abuse |
    • Teri

      Most people who think they know somebody that's had this probably know somebody that had MRSA, which is far more common and far more treatable.

      May 14, 2012 at 14:14 | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      @Jeff......only 20% die from it. Read the article. I had it 11 years ago and survived (with about 40% of my one leg covered in skin graft scars). There were a number of cases in my state that year, so yes, many people know someone who has survived this awful infection.
      I hope this young girl pulls through. Sounds like she is a fighter.

      May 14, 2012 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
  7. Ethics Board

    "The frequency of Aeromonas hydrophilia infections is unknown, the FDA notes, because researchers only recently began trying to collect numbers."

    Its unknown, but the number is likely small. As far as a public health issue for the CDC, there isn't one for "flesh-eating" bacteria. Smoking, obesity, motor-vehicle accidents (just to name a few) are far greater public health issues.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Mick

    You can, but you won't get day-to-day coverage on CNN unless you're a physically-attractive, young woman.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mastodonrocks

      Lol! True! Jeff Hanneman from metal band Slayer had this but you didnt hear about it.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
    • David

      CNN also does a lot of coverage on Mormons for some reason....like they are some sort of alien population. Who cares that a bunch of em' live near D.C.? Or that they believe there is a planet named Kolob (where God resides). I guess, beauty and bizarre meet at the crossroads called CNN.

      May 14, 2012 at 13:14 | Report abuse |
  9. dreamer96

    Stay away from the hospitals....most of the drug resistant germs live at the hospitals...That is were they started, and they have never left..

    May 14, 2012 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lady barbara

      had surgery a few years back. was treated for ecoli, mrsa and proteus mirabilis. to everyone who's making light of this article, i pray you never have to suffer multiple surgical debriedments while awake and endure 2x week wound vac dressing changes trying to close a whole in your gut that's so large that a man's two fists could easily fit within. i never dreamed such a nightmare would be my life for the last 2 years. it's not funny. it's not something to be silly and witty about.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
    • fireundkrash

      """Stay away from the hospitals"""

      Good advice.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      @Lady Barbara, I don't know your pain personally but my father was in the same position around Christmas. Except his started on his butt. Many many debridements, both awake and in surgery asleep. Almost 1 month hospital stay. then wound vac w/ 2 a week dressing changes for at least 2 months. I know this is nothing to joke about. We were told a couple times his chances of surving were not good. But thanks to an amazing surgeon and hospital staff, he did.

      May 14, 2012 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Rates for hospital acquired infections in orthopedic surgery patients are 10-15%, depending on how good your hospital is with infection control procedures. My son's last knee operation required a complete surgical debridement, 7 weeks of around the clock IV drug treatment, and 11 weeks on a wound vacuum, and the verdict is still out on plastic surgery to fully close the wound. Even with good insurance the bills are a nightmare. Hospitals are not as safe as they'd like you to believe.

      May 14, 2012 at 14:40 | Report abuse |
  10. winning

    I can picture it now,
    A guy sitting in the ole' double wide in a wife beater stinkin to high heaven, sweating to be'jesus...pickin his tooth with a sliver of redwood..admiring a photo of good ole boy dubya..." Muh 3 legged blind dog can do a better job of president"
    ..pahleez...You should consider yourselves lucky to have a man in the whitehouse like him...the GOP dont care about you one little bit.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Me

      Truth hurts so much you had to start name calling!!!! Brainwashed MORON!!!!

      May 14, 2012 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
    • GOP RIP

      winning – ROFL. Made my day

      May 14, 2012 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
    • Sharon

      Rlght on ! My sister always said she couldn't afford to be a Republican. Think about it. Just who is holding President Obama from taking care of us with his programs. Duh... A Republican Congress!

      May 14, 2012 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
    • Kerry

      @ "Me" –

      Way too easy. You are anti-Obama and rattling off about someone being brainwashed and name-calling. There isn't a single instance of "name-calling" in that ENTIRE paragraph. I, however, will happily dub you a worthless half-wit.


      May 14, 2012 at 14:27 | Report abuse |
    • theVoice

      Sharon "Just who is holding President Obama from taking care of us with his programs"

      If you think it is Obama and government's job to TAKE CARE of you with programs, we all will suffer the same fate as Greece and Russia.

      May 14, 2012 at 15:05 | Report abuse |
  11. C.S.

    But you have to wonder if this young woman actually got the flesh-eating bacteria in the hospital where her wound was treated. It's a possibility. I know a surgical nurse who got staph infection in a surgical setting, and is disabled today.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carl

      No, the bacteria are identified, and they are water based. Your point is taken though.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
  12. Question

    I don't get it. They treated her for a gash that took 15 staples to close. The wound was exposed to the water environment where the bacteria was common. Did they just wash it out with a saline solution? Why wasn't she given Anti-biotics right away if the bacteria is common in the water? Is the bacteria not succeptible to drugs. I understand it's the toxin that does the damage but less bacteria less toxin.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • iowa

      Antibiotics are effective but the bacteria has such a high growth rate that the relatively low dose pill antibiotics she was likely given (people with injuries like that are usually given preventative antibiotics, but not always) probably wouldn't have helped. These types of infections require strong antibiotics given via IV.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • Gail

      This type of bacteria are pretty resistant. The usual wound antibiotics given would have been the wrong ones. It takes several days for the culture and drug sensitivity to come back with the sensitivity results and by that time it was eating her leg. That's the problem with necrotizing fascitis. If it had been a group A strep or MRSA she probably would have done better as that's probably what they guessed it was and the drugs given may have worked. Obviously when they got the culture results back they put her on different antibiotics. Too late though.

      May 14, 2012 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
  13. Bob Cullins Jr.

    In 2004 my dad got iinfected by this bug while we were fishing in Galveston Bay. At the time 4 other cases were in the news and three of them died from the infection. While were were trying to make sure we didn't put our hands in the water, we forgot about the bait can thta held our shrimp. My dad had a small nick from the point of a fish hook, He woke up in the morning feeling bad aand had inflamation on his hand and arm. By the time we got him to the hospital an hour later his flesh was already deteriating. The emergency room doctor and staff couldn't do anything to stop it. Then a surgeon had the guts to start debriding his entire right arm up to the shoulder. They syarti ng apckinh with antibiotics and morphin. 12 weeks later, after sevewral surgeries and the begining of tissue transplants he was able to go home. His right arm looked like it had gone through a meat grinder, nothing bu skin and bone ( no muscle tissue. Fortunately he survived and was able to use his hand and fingers in limited ways. Ever since then I have never gone back bay fishing.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Kalemba saul

    Am afraid!!!

    May 14, 2012 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Todd in DC

    If this microbe were easy to catch, skateboarders across the US would be in hospitals for this. Unfortunately, life can sometimes throw a curveball at you that you cannot dodge.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      If they go into the water after getting cut.

      May 14, 2012 at 14:40 | Report abuse |
  16. Yeahboy

    It's God's will! He want dat dem dere bacteria to cleans all doze unpure souls like that dem der Democrats yee haww!!!! Bible and guns, dat wat we need...bibles and guns!

    May 14, 2012 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • palintwit

      Don't forget nascar !! We need more nascar !! And the baby jesus !! More jesus !!!

      May 14, 2012 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
    • rufus

      DBT say too much sex, too little Jesus (pronounced Jay sus).

      May 14, 2012 at 13:39 | Report abuse |
  17. Infectious diseases doctor

    Not to nitpick too much, but the last paragraph should really say that necrotizing fasciitis can be caused by a number of bacteria, the most common of which is group A Streptococcus (accounting for about 10,000 cases per year).

    Necrotizing fasciitis = disease. Aeromonas and Streptococcus = bacteria that can cause the disease. The distinction has been pointed out by other posters to previous articles. It may have been a side issue in articles about the girl's condition, but this piece is meant to inform and educate the public, so CNN's lack of clarity is unfortunate here.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Failure

    Doctors cut her body part is consider Sarah Palin Death Panel. Lack of research. Allows the government to stop spending money on research.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. will schulte

    i had the samething she has.just about two years.it almost killed me.from a small cut on my toe and i went jet sking.that is where i believe i got it.i spent a month in the hospital.9 surgerys later and hundreds of hours in the gym of blood sweat pain.to get back to normal.I did every minute of rehad myself.i still have horrid scars to show for it and 4ook in medicial bills.since i didnt have insurance.thats life i guess.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • korgri

      You know... When I was in my late teens I used to have this ingrown toenail that was constantly open and infected.
      I would just ignore it, go wading through mudpuddles, streams, creeks, lakes, the ocean.
      How stupid was that?

      May 14, 2012 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
  20. Jonathan

    Can I get this flesh eating bacteria.....................? OF COURSE YOU CAN. What the hell is this non sense CNN posts?

    May 14, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Kevin R.

    My wife had a paper cut about 6 years ago and the infection baffled doctors. Thankfully two doctors were able to stop the spread. She was in danger of losing several fingers before they managed to stop the spread. They told her that she would, like Aimee lose fingers. We were recommended to a doctor that not only saved most of her finger, but sewed it into her abdomen and re-grew it to the point where she functions. It was a long process and extremely difficult for her, both physically and emotionally but with the help of her family and strong determination pulled through this. I feel for Aimee and her family and prayers go out to them all

    May 14, 2012 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D Turner in Orlando

      I don't understand your post, the doctor "sewed (your wife's finger) it into her abdomen and re-grew it" What exactly was re-grown? A new finger??

      May 14, 2012 at 15:05 | Report abuse |
    • Ohio State

      Doctors at Ohio State Medical Center did the same thing a few years ago, in a similar type of case, and ended up sewing a woman's hands into her abdomen to keep them alive

      May 14, 2012 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
  22. I_



    May 14, 2012 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • palintwit

      That's only 4

      May 14, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • rufus

      I think the Jonas Bros. count as 2. I believe there may be 3 of them but they just count as 2 (for obvious reasons).

      May 14, 2012 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      I'm pretty sure Beiber and Lambert are not bands. So they don't count.

      May 14, 2012 at 14:25 | Report abuse |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      5th one must be CREED

      May 14, 2012 at 14:43 | Report abuse |

    Once again, scientists prove that nature is evil. We need to continue with the destruction of all forest regions and the polluting of all water systems! Only by doing this to the fullest, can we stop this deadly micro-organism from spreading and killing us off!

    May 14, 2012 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. korgri

    Someone report these bacteria to Homeland Security.
    To keep the rest of your day relatively nice and happy, don't google this topic and then hit 'images'.
    Trust me on this one, folks. You don't want to see.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Sally

    My mother in law died within 48 hours of having confirmed necrotizing fasciitis. She got hers from a small paper cut after digging in soil to plant some flowers. It was horrible. I pray this young woman pulls through not completely disfigured from it.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. kel

    Having contracted cellulitis a number of years ago I can attest to the speed at which it attacks the body. I owe my co-workers and my wife a big thank for convincing me to get to a hospital immediately. Within 24 hours my entire arm was about 30% bigger than its normal size. After spending 12 days in hospital I was very lucky to emerge with no permanent damage.

    Hoping this young girl makes as full a recovery as possible.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Ken

    Comments posted by "palintwit" and subsequent posts by other followers are irrelevent to this story but are amusing.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. ArranWebb

    Of course we can get it CNN! CNN is the hypodermic needle of fear that pumps serum into our veins at regular intervals and keeps us fearful and alert. Don't forget CNN it is time to run a story on being obese and diabetic.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Kingofthenet

    The fact that Doctors are 'Gun Shy' about Preventive Antibiotics causes a lot of problems, I don't care how well you irrigate you aren't going to get a deep wound sterile, had this girl been given 10 days of Keflex or Cipro she would have been fine.

    May 14, 2012 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ron

      This is completely untrue. For you educated medical professionals, this is called anecdotal. References on this? Studies? Ok, move on to something else.

      May 14, 2012 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
  30. alcourts


    May 14, 2012 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. marjee123

    What in the world does politics have to do with a flesh eating bacteria. I think these post about our president and even Palin are stupid and shows the mentality of the kind of people in this country today. This bacteria is no laughing matter. My 55 year old son contracted it, and thank goodness he went immediately to the hospital because of the pain. The had caught it in time and stopped it but it had destroyed a lot of muscle and tissue in his leg which needed grafts to help heal. I feel for this young girl and I hope with all my hear she beats it.

    May 14, 2012 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • korgri

      quote "What in the world does politics have to do with a flesh eating bacteria"
      Answer – if there was ever a more apt metaphor....

      May 14, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      You do not need to be educated to have a political view. You do need to be educated to have a medical view. Hence, why almost anyone can vote, but only a few can surgically repair a nec fash.

      May 14, 2012 at 13:58 | Report abuse |
  32. Johnny

    Flesh eating bacteria are parasites, just like leeches. The leech family includes the money-sucking leeches of Congress. Remember, the opposite of Congress is Progress.

    May 14, 2012 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Tracy

    Only seven weeks ago I noticed in the morning when I bumped my elbow against something that it was really sore. By midnight my arm was hot, red, swollen, and very painful. There was nothing more than a dry crack on my elbow to perhaps let something in. Fortunately I sought medical attention fairly quickly as a fever was coming on and tests showed my white count going crazy. I have no underlying medical conditions at all, so I probably wasn't as worried as I should have been. Fortunately immediate treatment with high powered antibiotics halted the progress of this and all that is left now is a small amount of dead tissue on my elbow. Since my case responded, further tests were not done to see what the "bug" actually was. But lesson learned is if something really weird like this hits you, don't wait as every hour counts.

    May 14, 2012 at 13:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. avatar

    this is one ugly bacteria

    May 14, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RichardSRussell

    Since it appears that these bacteria are essentially everywhere, the more pertinent question would seem to be "How come I've managed to avoid a horrible, grisly death so far?" Apparently the only available answer is "just lucky, I guess".

    May 14, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • korgri

      Like those near miss meteors, maybe. I usually pass the time wringing my hands over gamma ray bursts from distant novas.
      Whammo, half the earth's atmosphere is gone, no warning. The people on the side of the earth where it hit needn't have purchased all that 20,000 block sunscreen, it made no difference.
      Now for a few days I'll fret over this flesh eating bacteria, let my cousin worry about the gamma ray bursts.

      May 14, 2012 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
  36. George Meredith MD

    To Avoid MRSA, Get Back to Basics!

    Another resistant staphylococcus/streptococcus tragedy thanks to poor surgical training of general surgeons, plastic surgeons and emergency room physicians. Augmented by the know it all pharmaceutical industry and the morons at the CDC!

    The CDC rarely points out that MRSA and, now, NDM-1, infections often are related to some (foreign body) implant. Silastic implants, road dirt, splinters, contaminated fresh water and bone fragments! Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

    Basic surgical principals: Irrigate wound at end of operation or in the Emergency Room, in the case of a contaminated wound. Remove road dirt, splinters, bone fragments, etc. DO NOT CLOSE POTENTIALLY CONTAMINATED WOUNDS !!!!…pack the wound open and then change packing twice daily for the next ten days! Irrigate with strong penicillin solution.

    After clean elective surgery cases, if infection occurs, usually on the third postoperative day, then, open wound widely. Change one inch plain Nu Gauze Packing Strips twice daily. Don't rely on some super antibiotic. Get back to basics!

    High dose IV Aqueous Penicillin, 60 million units per day intravenously, was the drug of choice for MSRA before the FDA removed it from the marketplace.

    Those phony little Culture and Sensitivity (C&S) discs, Dr Anthony Fauci (CDC), give completely different sensitivity results when the concentration of penicillin is increased tenfold!

    Search: George Meredith MD Comments for more information.

    "The best government is the least government."

    George Meredith MD
    Virginia Beach

    May 14, 2012 at 13:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rufus

      I thought only the government could protect us! Waaa! I want my big government!

      May 14, 2012 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Based on personal experience, the medical industry views infection control as a cost to be minimized. Hospital management seems to have discovered that it is more profitable to accept that 10% of surgical patients will require additional treatment for hospital acquired infections and that some of those will die. The costs of the additional nursing staff and supplies to push these rates down just isn't good for the business's bottom line.

      May 14, 2012 at 14:48 | Report abuse |
  37. Imran Khan

    I am so sad but not hopeless I will pray to Allah for her and she will be InshaAllah alright.

    May 14, 2012 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Barnaby

    Who's Sarah Palin?

    May 14, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. markhh

    The bottom line is this. If your immune system is not up to snuff, it's likely that your time on this planet will be cut dramatically short by a microbial or viral infection.

    May 14, 2012 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. sick n tired

    Great....now all the E.R.'s accross the country are going to be over run with people who have paper cuts and scraped knees! I spent my entire childhood in the forests, streams and ponds in rural farmland PA. I was a rough and tumble kid who always had some kind of open wound. I never had any problems. I may have been lucky or maybe these bugs are just getting worse. My sympathies go out to the girl and her family but people should be far more afraid of the Fed. Government than any flesh eating bug. The Fed's have likely weaponized this flesh eating bug and made it 1000x's worse.

    May 14, 2012 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. krk

    Sounds like a girli dated, rotten to the core, once had cellulitis, vey painful, almost no lost tissue, but a nice scar, this shi.t is for real, congress needs a good dose

    May 14, 2012 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. LastoftheZucchiniFlowers

    I wonder if the pressors used to perfuse her renal system which was likely shutting down had more to do with the amputations that the bacteria itself? Anyone who has treated these cases (not unlike any other cascading multi organ failure) knows that the bacteria secretes toxins that shut down kidney function which leads to circulatory collapse which leads to death, quickly. The only way to keep the patient alive at that point is to use pressors, which often result in loss of extremities. God help this girl and her family as they go through this travail. As a parent, I think I'd do the same thing to save my own daughter – and worry about the consequences later. Keeping your child ALIVE when she's obviously fighting for life and worry about the consequences LATER. The take home? STAY OUT OF FRESH WATER and never suture wounds suffered in fresh/brackish water. Let them heal via 2nd intention and worry about the cosmetic repair LATER, when the danger of these fresh water pathogens (the list is very long – and the hotter the water, the worse the risk) is past.

    May 14, 2012 at 13:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Bojan P.

    Please someone explain to me what Palin, Obama, politics, etc. have to do with this story?

    May 14, 2012 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • palintwit

      Because scientists from the Disease Control Dept. at the prestigous Sarah Palin University are studying this bacteria. FYI, Sarah Palin University is in Floyd County, Arkansas, next door to the Taco Bell, behind the Piggly Wiggly.

      May 14, 2012 at 14:39 | Report abuse |
  44. Jerome Horowitz

    At the risk of the response in this forum, I have to ask – I live on a lake and have been swimming in it for 20 years. Do I now have to worry about this? Nobody in the area has ever had anything like this, as far as I know. I am up north where the lake freezes each winter, if that makes a difference.

    May 14, 2012 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. bolt

    After reading all dumb political comments I realized something. Americans are stupid. That's why the economy is s mess. Instead of working to solve problems we argue who is better.opinions don't solve problems. Politicians are thieves and if you support them you're the fool.

    May 14, 2012 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. docame

    You know, I used to fantasize that I was Gilligan, on Gilligan's Island. I was in that makeshift bath tub Gilligan and the skipper made out of bamboo, when both Ginger and Marianne came over to help me take my bath. Then...

    May 14, 2012 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Andrew

    So, if I get this straight, could this bacteria be prevented if PROPER dressing of a wound is done? I know for any deep cuts I've had, the Doctors made sure to disinfect the cut daily and force it to heal from the INSIDE (deep in the wound) by packing it with sterile gauze, before much later continuing with just cleaning and sterile bandage.

    May 14, 2012 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. laeinstein

    We have had a deluge of Flesh eating bacteria in this country since 1973 with the imbecile Burger Court-it is called a proliferation of ADVERTISING Personal Injury ATTORNEYS feeding off the flesh of the population- However- the citizens not only allow it but welcome and encourage it

    May 14, 2012 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. john goddard

    As on old-timer, i just have one question. Where is this stuff coming from? I think you younger folks are facing some dark times ahead, i really do. Hate to be a Debbie Downer. But, just in my time, 71 years, i have seen so many changes. went to a one-room six grade school made in a clearing with woods on all sides. Deer were seen quite a bit. But, there were no deer ticks to worry about. my older brother swam, quite often, in the "strip mines" and there brackish, stagnant water. did not have flesh-eating bacteria to worry about. just read today that this year has been the warmest on record. and, the scientists predict it will only get hotter. it is your world now folks, so, please take all this stuff serious. would gladly discuss this, just drop me a line, Jack at johngoddards@gmail.com. oh, intelligent people only please. no politics.

    May 14, 2012 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. The microbiologist

    In this article you stated "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year there are about 10,000 U.S. cases of group A streptococcus, a collection of bacteria that includes necrotizing fasciitis"

    This statement is not accurate. First, Aeromonas hydrophilia which is the culprit behind this condition is a gram negative rod. So there is no way it can be part of group A streptococcus. Group A streptococcus are gram positive cocci. Please do the necessary correction to your article so the public is not missinformed. Thank you AZ

    May 14, 2012 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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