A 52-year-old man in the US has developed a flesh-eating bacterial infection after being bitten by a relative during a family get together.
Donnie Adams, from Riverview, Florida, noticed a pain in his left thigh as well as a small raised bump. According to Tampa Bay Times, he assumed that the mark was probably from a few days before when he attempted to break up a fight between family members. He sought out medical treatment, getting a tetanus shot and antibiotics.
However, a few days later he returned to hospital in a far more serious situation. Barely able to walk, much of the flesh in Adams' leg between his knee and groin was rotting.
Adams was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, an infection that can destroy skin as well as fat and muscles in a very short space of time. The severe condition, commonly called "flesh-eating disease", can enter the body through a break in the skin. Rapid treatment cutting away dead tissue and administering antibiotics is key to treating the disease, which can be fatal.
During surgery, Adams' medical team had to cut away about 70 percent of the flesh in his thigh, and then slightly more during a follow-up procedure. Though drastic, it could have been worse.
“If I would’ve waited and waited until the next day after our second visit there was a chance I would’ve lost my leg," Adams told the Tampa Bay Times.
Necrotizing fasciitis is caused by several types of bacteria, most-commonly group A Streptococcus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It's unclear whether Adams' infection was spread via bacteria picked up directly from the bite, or whether it got infected afterward. Generally, the condition is picked up in cuts, scrapes, and other wounds, and it is rare to spread from person to person.
Though scarred, Adams has recovered well and can walk again as normal. The family members involved in the incident are "sorrowful", he told the Tampa Bay Times.