Kentucky man gnawed by flesh-eating bacteria, loses chunk of thigh after camping trip

August 14, 2019 0 By Archana Chaudhary
Kentucky man gnawed by flesh-eating bacteria, loses chunk of thigh after camping trip

While extremely rare, the horror of necrotizing fasciitis, more commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria, gains massive attention any time it strikes.

It’s especially unnerving given that the disease ravages the body so quickly — as fast as an inch an hour in some cases, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders — that sometimes the only way to prevent its spread is to cut out the infected portions.

That’s why Jonathan Metcalf of Lancaster, Ky., is missing a chunk of his thigh after a Memorial Day Weekend camping trip.

He swam and camped, but overnight he could tell something was severely wrong, he told WKYT-TV, with discomfort so severe he felt as if he’d been kicked in the groin.

When he got dizzy and feverish, the family ditched the camping trip and went home early, WKYT reported. Then he realized something was forming on his left thigh, and soon he couldn’t walk.

“Accurate diagnosis, rapid antibiotic treatment, and prompt surgery are important to stopping this infection,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says on its website. “See a doctor right away if you have a fever, dizziness, or nausea soon after an injury or surgery.”

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That’s exactly what Metcalf did, and a doctor diagnosed him with the bacterial infection, which kills tissue and separates the muscle from its lining, WKYT said.

The bacteria can enter the body via a number of innocuous avenues, including cuts and scrapes, burns, insect bites, puncture wounds including from drug use, and surgical wounds, according to the CDC. However, it is extremely rare, infecting only about 20,000 people a year