Getting sick while on vacation sucks, which is why we recommend travelers get all their vaccinations up to date well before they hit the road. Unfortunately, there are illnesses that cannot be prevented by a shot, like necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria.
Two cases of necrotizing fasciitis, a rare bacterial condition that can potentially result in health complications or death, have been reported in Florida recently.
In June, a 12-year-old girl scraped her toe while visiting Pompano Beach, complained about pain in her calf, and was rushed to the emergency room where she was diagnosed and treated for the infection. Most recently, a 77-year-old woman died after contracting the bacteria through an open leg wound. She had fallen and cut her leg while walking along the water on Coquina Beach.
While necrotizing fasciitis is uncommon, it’s important to know the symptoms of the infection, which includes a red or swollen area of skin that spreads quickly, severe pain, and fever. Note that not only can the bacteria enter the body through cuts and scrapes, burns, insect bites, and puncture and surgical wounds, but also after a blunt trauma that does not break the skin.
According to the CDC, even with treatment, up to one in three people with necrotizing fasciitis die from the infection.