A family beach holiday took a tragic turn when a 12-year-old girl almost died from a flesh-eating bacteria infection contracted while swimming.
Towards the end of her trip to Destin, in the US state of Florida, Kylei Parker began feeling pain in her leg, which had escalated to swelling and a fever by the time she arrived home to Indiana.
Her mother Michelle Brown was shocked when doctors learned her girl had necrotising fasciitis – a life-threatening infection.
She contracted the infection through an unhealed wound after she scraped her big toe while riding a skateboard, the Indy Star reports.
Kylei had to have emergency surgery to help remove the infection from her leg and potentially save the child’s life.
This aggressive infection kills around one out of every five people who contract it, so fast medical treatment is key to survival.
"If it wasn't for the quick responses and aggressive treatments, I wouldn't have her," Ms Brown told Fox43 News.
Kylei is still receiving intravenous antibiotics for the infection and is starting physiotherapy to help her walk properly again.
The youngster and her mum are hoping to share Kylei’s story to warn other families to the warning signs of infection, to prevent other nightmare beach holidays.
"It's hard for me to think about if I had waited one more day, or even a couple more hours," Ms Brown told Fox43.
"We’re just very fortunate."
What is necrotising fasciitis?
Necrotising fasciitis is caused when water bacteria enters the body through an open wound or small cut, then rapidly kills flesh and muscle. Kylei thinks the infection must have came through a graze on a toe she nicked while skateboarding.
An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report confirmed about 400 cases of necrotising fasciitis are diagnosed in Australian hospitals each year.
Most cases of necrotising fasciitis in Australia are picked up locally, not overseas, SBS reported.
The flesh-eating infection is commonly caused by group A Streptococcus (GAS) bacteria, which is the same bug that causes strep throat.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to support Kylei’s family with medical expenses.
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