Anna Maria Island photo via Adobe
The family of 77-year-old Lynn Fleming says she fell victim to flesh-eating bacteria and died this past week due to complications from her infected leg.
The Ellenton woman became infected with this deadly bacteria after scraping her leg while walking along Coquina Beach on June 10. The attending lifeguard bandaged the wound and she received a tetanus shot the following day, and the seemingly insignificant event was quickly forgotten by her and her family.
"Absolutely we thought nothing of it," her son, Wade Fleming told WTSP
. "We sat there and shared some drinks on the beach, went in the water a couple more times."
But a few days after her stumble at the beach, Fleming was found unconscious at her home, with the wound, which was only three quarters of an inch long, black and intensely swollen.
When taken to the hospital, doctors diagnosed Fleming with necrotizing fasciitis, a deadly and fast-acting flesh-eating disease. They treated her as quickly as possible, but she unfortunately died days later due to post-surgery complications, according to her family.
More than one type of bacteria can cause necrotizing fasciitis, but the most common one is group A Streptococcus (group A strep), according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This type of bacteria is somewhat common to the Gulf of Mexico, due to its warmer waters. Between 500 and 1,000 cases of flesh-eating bacteria are reported annually, according to the CDC.
“We want to make sure that we get the word out so this doesn't happen to anybody else because it seems like there could've been a chance where we got ahead of this," Wade Fleming told WTSP.
If you notice symptoms of fever, dizziness, and severe pain around an open wound, contact a doctor right away as prompt treatment is key to surviving this flesh-eating bacteria — not to freak you out.
Flemming's death comes about a week after a 12-year-old contracted flesh-eating bacteria
after swimming in the Gulf near Destin, Florida.