Central Florida woman's diagnosis marks latest case of flesh-eating bacteria


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Casselberry resident Sarah Martinez cut her leg while shaving a few days before a planned vacation to Sarasota, only to contract a potentially fatal case of flesh-eating bacteria once her cut was exposed to the water.

WKMG was the first to report the story Monday. Martinez said she could feel the effects of the infection setting in minutes after entering the water: a stinging sensation, followed by intense pain and swelling. Within a day, Martinez opted to get it checked out at a hospital.

That's where she found out she'd contracted necrotizing fasciitis, described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly in the body and can be fatal.

Martinez's infection is part of a recent trend in Florida.

Last month, the family of Lynn Fleming said she fell victim to the same infection and died within a week due to complications. The Ellenton woman became infected 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. A few days later, she was found unconscious in her home and was taken to the hospital, where she died several days later.

Prior to news of Fleming's death, Kylei Parker, an Indiana kid who was on vacation with family at a beach in Destin, also contracted the bacteria in June after she entered the water with a cut on her toe. Luckily, though, she sought treatment and avoided death or amputation.

"When visiting the state's beaches and/or intracoastal waterways, residents and visitors should cover any open skin cuts they may have with a waterproof band-aid before interacting with the water," the Florida Department of Health in Orange County said in a statement to WKMG. "If not possible, individuals can enjoy the sun and sand but they may want to stay out of the water as a precaution against water borne illnesses." 

Martinez is reportedly recovering.

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