A YOUNG girl was left fighting for her life after contracting a deadly flesh-eating bacteria on a family holiday.
Kylei Brown, 12, had been paddling in the sea at Pompano Beach, Florida when the deadly infection got into a small scrape on her big toe.
The flesh-eating bacteria, known as necrotising fasciitis – which damages tissue by releasing harmful toxins, appearing to “eat” away at a victim’s flesh – has a 1 in 3 survival rate if contracted.
Kylei’s mum, Michelle, felt compelled to share the terrifying story in a Facebook post after seeing other families holidaying at the beach, not knowing that a potentially deadly flesh-eating bacteria could be lurking beneath the water.
The Brown family had travelled to Destin, Florida for a summer holiday but had been unable to go to the beach for the first few days due to stormy weather which had whipped up huge waves, strong currents and “murky” water.
Due to the conditions, when the family did eventually visit they were only allowed in to the water up to their ankles.
The following day, Kylei woke up with a pain in her calf but her mum put it down to cramp or a pulled muscle – the 12-year old was walking fine and the pain wasn’t too bad.
Little did they know that at this point the infection was settling into Kylei’s leg and beginning to release deadly toxins into her body.
Three days after the family visited the beach Kylei had “severe pain” in her calf and walking was so painful that it was bringing her to tears.
Michelle was having to carry her 12-year old daughter around on her back as the pain in her leg made walking impossible.
Later that same day the family returned home and immediately took Kylei to their doctor, however with Kylei’s “concerning” amount of pain they were advised to take her straight to hospital as they were unsure what was wrong with her, and seeing a specialist would take too long.
Kylei was admitted to a paediatric intensive care unit, with a temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit. “Everything started going downhill quickly,” Michelle wrote, “because to sum things up, she had contracted a bacteria.”
All that matters is my girl is alive
Hospital staff were pumping fluids into Kylei via machine and by hand, Michelle describes how the little girl had four IVs attached to her and that her blood pressure was “in critical numbers”.
Kylei had to undergo a total of three surgeries to remove the infection in her leg – Michelle writes “we learned Kylei had a very serious infection and the surgery to remove the infection was to try to save her leg, but most importantly her life.”
The 12-year old was fitted with a wound vacuum over the infected area, to ensure that nothing else would be lingering in the wound.
Now on a cocktail of antibiotics, Kylei is doing much better – although it will take time to recover from the ordeal.
What is necrotising fasciitis?
Necrotising fasciitis is a rare but serious bacterial infection that affects the tissue beneath the skin and surrounding muscles and organs.
Although we call it a “flesh-eating bug”, it doesn’t actually eat anything – it releases toxins that damage tissue.
You can get it from small cuts and injuries but it gets worse very quickly and it can kill you if it’s not treated quickly.
Symptoms may not be obvious at first and can be similar to less serious conditions, such as flu, gastroenteritis or cellulitis.
Early symptoms can include:
- a small but painful cut or scratch on the skin
- intense pain that’s out of proportion to any damage to the skin
- a high temperature (fever) and other flu-like symptoms
After a few hours to days, you may develop:
- swelling and redness in the painful area – the swelling will usually feel firm to the touch
- diarrhoea and vomiting
- dark blotches on the skin that turn into fluid-filled blisters
Michelle said “I am just so thankful for the many prayers, the quick response and efforts of her medical teams and the aggressive treatment she has received.
“Because of that, I still have my baby girl with me today.
“We are not completely better, but we are on the road to recovery.
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“We will have numerous doctors visits, physical therapy and blood work to continue, but all that matters is my girl is ALIVE.
“I wanted to share her story in hopes that it may help save someone else.
“It is CRITICAL to be aware of the signs and symptoms and getting treatment quickly.”
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