A Facebook post about an incident, in which a woman allegedly fell victim to a “flesh-eating bacteria” on the popular Myrtle Beach of South Carolina in the US, has horrified thousands of users. In a post on July 29, a user Marsha Barnes Beal shared how her mother, Bonita Fetterman, fell victim to the bacteria. She also shared a video and photos of Fetterman’s ordeal. “All prayer warriors: Please remember my Mama, Bonita Fetterman in prayer. She was airlifted to Chapel Hill earlier today. She’s now in ICU, heavily sedated, and on a breathing machine. However, she is stable! She came in contact with a life threatening flesh eating bacteria after putting her feet in the water at Myrtle Beach! Surgery is the only option until it is completely cut away from her long! With the hopes of it not spreading. She is in need of special prayer!,” Marsha wrote on Facebook.
The post horrified thousands of users on Facebook and received over 90,000 likes, over 60,000 comments, and over 40,000 reactions.
The city of Myrtle Beach has denied the presence of such “bacteria” in the water at the beach. In a statement on Facebook, it said, “The City of Myrtle Beach is aware of a Facebook post that claims bacterial issues along the Grand Strand. We have had no reports and no direct contact about any such issues,” it said in a Facebook post.
“The city has been unable to confirm the location or date of any such incident. At this point, all we have is a Facebook post, with no confirmation. Our ocean water quality is tested twice weekly, with excellent results. If we can determine where such contact may have occurred, we can order additional water quality tests to determine whether any connection exists,” it added.
What is the deadly “Flesh Eating bacteria”
According to America’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare bacterial skin infection which spreads quickly and kills the soft tissues of the body. Necrotising means “causing the death of tissues”. The infection can turn deadly in a very short amount of time.
Media commonly refers to Necrotizing fasciitis as “flesh-eating infection” which can be caused by more than one type of bacteria, including Group A Streptococcus, Klebsiella, Clostridium, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Aeromonas hydrophila, according to CDC. Group A Streptococcus (group A strep) is considered to be the most common cause of the “flesh-eating infection.” A person infected by the bacteria may lose limbs or even die.
The CDC recommends good wound care to deal with the infection, which “rarely” spread from people to people. A person affected by the infection should avoid spending time in whirlpools, hot tubs, swimming pools and natural water bodies.
According to CDC, patients suffering from diabetes, kidney disease, cancer and other chronic health condition that weakens immunity system are more vulnerable to the “flesh-eating bacteria”.
People affected by the infection must get prompt treatment, recommends CDC.