Flesh eating bacteria, rare but worth concern
Disease is rare but can kill 20 percent of victims.
Flesh eating bacteria is uncommon, but a number of things have to go wrong before someone can get such an infection. The bacteria is in the news again after a Georgia grad student went to the hospital to fight for her life against the disease.
Flesh eating bacteria as viewed under an electron microscope.
Estimates say that about 750 cases of flesh eating bacteria are reported each year, caused by a bacteria related to strep. Copeland's infection is actually caused by a different kind of bacteria, the Aeromonas hydrophila. Cases like hers are the most rare of all.
People infected with flesh eating bacteria have about a 20 percent chance of dying from the infection or related problems.
Mostly, the germs are found in brackish water and stagnant ponds, but unless a person has an open sore or wound, it is virtually impossible to get infected. The bacteria must first get inside a wound, then burrow into the flesh. If they happen to end up being deprived of oxygen, they can produce toxins that can poison a victim.
Doctors advise immediate medical care, especially for deep wounds and infections. Unless a doctor provides prompt care, the bacteria can spread. Some of the infections can also prove resistant to common antibiotics. Doctors say the infections can also prove difficult to diagnose.
In the meantime, Copeland continues to fight for her life in a Georgia hospital. So far, her family and doctors have refused further interviews.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Aimee Copeland, flesh eating bacteria, zip-lining
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