Woman dies of flesh-eating bacteria on Florida island, family says

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Florida woman died last month after she contracted a flesh-eating bacteria on Anna Maria Island, her family told WFLA.

Lynn Fleming’s son, Wade Fleming says his mother stumbled and cut her shin when their family visited Coquina Beach on June 10. The cut was only about three-quarters of an inch long.

Days later, her leg was swollen and turning black, so she was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with the flesh-eating bacteria. Doctors tried to save her life, but after a week and a half of treatment, Fleming died, according to her family.

Between 500 and 1,000 cases of flesh-eating bacteria are reported annually, according to the CDC. The bacteria typically resides in warmer waters like the Gulf of Mexico, but it’s made its way up the East Coast due to increasingly warm water temperatures.

To prevent a bacterial skin infection, the CDC suggests using common sense and good wound care:

  • Clean all minor cuts and injuries that break the skin (like blisters and scrapes) with soap and water.
  • Clean and cover draining or open wounds with clean, dry bandages until they heal.
  • See a doctor for puncture and other deep or serious wounds.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if washing is not possible.
  • Care for fungal infections like athlete’s foot.

Those with open wounds or skin infections should avoid spending time in:

  • Hot tubs
  • Swimming pools
  • Natural bodies of water (e.g., lakes, rivers, oceans)

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