Girl Ravaged by Flesh-Eating Bacteria Is Likely Its Only Victim for Decades


bacteriaHas the tragic story of Aimee Copeland, the grad student fighting that flesh-eating bacteria, got you worried about contracting necrotizing fasciitis yourself? If so, it's probably wise to study up on the signs: Pain that's out of proportion to your injury, fever, chills, swelling, diarrhea and/or vomiting, and a sunburn-like rash.

But you're not going to get necrotizing fasciitis.

Or anyway, it's highly unlikely that you ever will, especially if you're healthy. There are an estimated 750 cases of flesh-eating bacteria reported a year in the U.S., and most are caused by a type of strep germ. The bacteria that caused Aimee's infection is even more rare. Only a handful of cases caused by that bacteria have been reported in the past few decades. And there are more reasons not to worry.

People who are most vulnerable to infection are those who already have weak immune systems. We don't know yet if Aimee had a condition that would affect her immune system -- if it turns out she was perfectly healthy that's going to make doctors scratch their heads a bit.

More from The Stir: Flesh Eating Bacteria Continues to Claim More of Aimee Copeland's Body (VIDEO)

Most people survive their struggle with flesh-eating bacteria. One in five die, which is still awful. But now that I've seen all the factors that aligned for this to happen I'm amazed that Aimee got this infection at all. Not to take away at all from the tragedy that's befallen Aimee and her family, but I'm reassured to learn more about this bacteria. Oh I'll be sure and check my symptoms if I ever get a deep cut near some water. But it's a relief to see how truly rare this disease really is.

Has Aimee Copeland's experience made you worried about getting a flesh-eating bacteria?


Image via adonofrio/Flickr


general health, illness


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Saumya Shrivastava

Here are the further details regarding Aimee's Disease and the bacteria.

Aimee Copeland, 24, battles flesh-eating necrotizing fasciitis following zip-lining accidentAimee Copeland, 24-year-old with necrotizing fasciitis, remains in important conditionOver the weekend.

The bacteria that infected Copeland, a bug referred to as Aeromonas hydrophila, is found in heat, brackish waters 



Autumn Scott

There was a girl on the news last night who lost her leg to the same bacteria that Aimee has only a couple years ago...

jessi... jessicasmom1

Yes worried my DD swims well tubbing on the river up here.

Melis... Melissa1508

I read in the Atlanta Journal that she had recently been diagnosed with a form of lupus, so that would make sense as to why her immune system was decimated.  Poor girl.  What a streak of bad luck.  I hope she can beat it!

KenneMaw KenneMaw

This story doesn't make me worry.  This was a very freak accident and set of circumstances.  When she fell, she suffered a gash that required 24 staples!  That is a BIG gash.  A friend had neck surgery and it required 10 staples and that wound was about 6 inches long.   Also, when she fell, she landed in water.   The rivers around Atlanta (where i live) often have bacteria advisories and when she had her accident, we hadn't had rain in a while, so I would imagine the water was pretty nasty.   However, I would recommend that ifyou have a serious wound that has been exposed to the elements, make sure to tell the doctor how and where the injury occurred and request antibiotics.

storm... stormcris

It did not really worry me anymore than any other condition does. I am in GA and have a compromised system but I won't live in fear because of it.


I wonder how one would get in touch really with this family. Any ideas? I would like to ask them if they considered bacteriophage therapy. If the money could be raised to get her to Russia, or Germany then bacteriophage therapy could be absolutly life saving. It has been used for many years in Europe and fights these infections that our traditional medicines cannot heal and yet the FDA won't approve it here in the United States. I hope they can help this young woman. If anyone has any ideas on how to directly get ahold of someone let me know because I remember reading a story of a guy with an infection like this kept eating at his skin he finally went to russia and was healed within 6 weeks.

stewieb stewieb

My brother almost died from NF 1 1/2 years ago. There were 2 other cases in the same hospital within 6 months. Scary stuff since they can't say where it comes from or how you contract it! They think he had a bite of some sort and that was the porthole for the bacteria. He's still got major depression and fear. I wish I could help him. :(

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