(NVONews.Com) Flesh eating bacteria of Aimee Copeland infection has been explained, but treatment is very difficult, say many experts who have followed the disease
Aimee Copeland is a 24-year-old Georgia student who has lost her leg to a deadly infection called necrotizing fasciitis and the responsible bacteria, Aeromonas hydrophila, is now threatening to infect her remaining limbs.
Copeland was admitted to hospital with an ankle wound that she incurred in a zip line accident over river. the evidence of her infection arose a day after she was admitted. Her ankle wound had been deep but it had been cleaned and stapled by doctors when she was fist admitted. However, the bacteria is suspected to have burrowed deep and soon infected her whole leg, which had to be amputated last week.
Her condition worsened after this and her heart stopped beating, but doctors revived her. Doctors informed that the bacteria that must have infected her wound thrives in warm and fresh water, like the river where she got her injury. The bacteria causing necrotizing fasciitis infection is a rare occurrence, but very deadly with more than 60% mortality rate.
The Copeland family is fighting the trouble bravely and Aimee’s father Andy Copeland said, “I couldn’t conceive of what it would be like for my daughter to lose her hands and the only other foot she has, as well, and that appears to be what is going to happen. The most important thing is my daughter is still alive.”
According to the 2007 World Journal of Emergency Surgery study, the bacteria responsible for Copeland’s infection usually causes diarrhoea, but they also cause the flesh-eating disease in very rare cases. And the infection necrotizing fasciitis is hard to diagnose, making it more dangerous as when the diagnosis comes too late, it results in death.
Symptoms of the infection begin with the first day in the form of new wounds elsewhere. Though the original wound does not look infected, patient can report sensation of pain somewhere near the original wound and flu-like symptoms. In a few more days the origin of infection swells, darkens and rashes appear around the area. A study reports that the actual wound may show a “bluish, white, or dark, mottled, flaky appearance.” In the next few days blood pressure drops and patient suffers from septic shock and loses consciousness.
Once necrotizing fasciitis sets in, the infected person’s immune system is highly compromised. It usually happens when the infected person already has other health problems like diabetes, kidney disease, cuts on the skin, chickenpox or other viral infection.
the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports that there are about 10,000 to 15,000 necrotizing fasciitis infections each year in the U.S., with 2,000 to 3,000 deaths.
The infection is treated using antibiotics and the infected area has to be surgically removed. Since the infection causes complications like organ failure, or shock, hyperbaric oxygen therapy may also be used to stop the body’s tissue from dying.