Woman Says She Got Flesh-Eating Bacteria From Florida Beach

July 4, 2019 Updated: July 4, 2019

Warning: Graphic photos.

A 45-year-old Florida woman said she developed necrotizing fasciitis after visiting Siesta Key Beach in May, reported the Herald Tribune.

“I started getting really sick after I went to the beach. I had a scratch on my leg, and I didn’t think anything of it,” Amy Barnes told the news outlet. “Then it ate up the whole back of my leg.”

The woman said she went to Sarasota Memorial Hospital and received a diagnosis of necrotizing fasciitis.

“My leg was real red and swollen, and it started to blister, it felt like it was on fire excruciating pain,” Barnes told ABC  Action News.

She said she got a scratch on her leg the day before.

“It was just a little scratch, I never in a million years thought it was going to turn into something that big, oh my gosh,” Barnes added to the ABC affiliate. “Not less, something that was going to cover my whole leg and keep me from walking. I was in a wheelchair too.”

She issued a warning to others.

“If you start to feel sick you are not overreacting you are saving your life is what you are doing,” Barnes said.

Another Florida woman, Sarah Martinez, 28, said she was diagnosed with cellulitis after swimming in the water at Turtle Beach in Sarasota, according to the newspaper. However, doctors later found out it was necrotizing fasciitis.

She said that “nope, they had all the infectious disease doctors treating me, and they did the protocol for necrotizing fasciitis.”

“I want people to be aware of this stuff because it’s real and it will kill you,” she said. “It will eat you up before you even get a chance.”

Martinez said she nicked her ankle from shaving two days before she went to the beach.

“About 30 minutes after getting out of the water, my leg started swelling up, and it started turning really red,” Martinez, who is from Orlando, said. “I figured it was just from a sunburn or from being on my feet all morning.”

Martinez was hospitalized the next day.

Florida Man Gets Vibrio

Tyler King said he contracted a form of flesh-eating bacteria, but he didn’t get it from the beach.

King said that his left bicep began to swell, CBS News reported. He then took Benadryl but his arm tripled in size.

He then went to the emergency room, according to the report.

“When I was a little bit younger, I probably would have tried to tough it out. Well, that would have been the worst thing that I could do,” King told the news outlet. “If I had gone to sleep … and had woke up with it at the rate it was spreading, I might not have an arm right now.”

The report said he had contracted vibrio, which is found in brackish water and uncooked or undercooked seafood.

King said he didn’t directly touch water the day he was infected, although he owns a water sports business in Santa Rosa Beach.

He said he still doesn’t know what caused the infection. Nonetheless, he described himself as lucky, according to the report.

It comes after an elderly Florida woman died after contracting a type of flesh-eating bacteria while she walked along a Gulf coast beach.

Lynn Fleming, 77, died last week while walking along a beach situated on the Gulf of Mexico, CBS News reported.

“I’m still numb. You know, it’s two weeks and I lost my mother,” Fleming’s son, Wade, told the news outlet on July 1. “It’s been hard.”

Wade Fleming said she was walking on the beach when she fell and suffered a small cut.

Symptoms

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are several types of flesh-eating bacteria. “Necrotizing means causing the death of tissues. Fasciitis means inflammation of the fascia (the tissue under the skin that surrounds muscles, nerves, fat, and blood vessels),” the agency says on its website.

Early symptoms include a red or swollen area of skin that spreads quickly, severe pain, including pain beyond the area of the skin that is red, and a fever.

“See a doctor right away if you have these symptoms after an injury or surgery. Even though minor illnesses can cause symptoms like these, people should not delay getting medical care. Later symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis can include: Ulcers, blisters, or black spots on the skin … changes in the color of the skin … pus or oozing from the infected area,” the agency says.

Dizziness, fatigue, diarrhea, and nausea are also symptoms.

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