12-year-old girl contracts flesh-eating bacteria while visiting Florida beach

In 2008, there were 16 confirmed cases of the infection, resulting in six fatalities.

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12-year-old girl contracts flesh-eating bacteria while visiting Florida beach
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Kylei Parker had a cut on her toe when she went swimming during a family trip to the beach in Destin.Then a flesh-eating bacteria almost killed her. 

Fox 59 Indianapolis reported the incident late Wednesday. Parker reportedly began feeling pressure in her leg once she and her family left the beach to head back to their home in Indiana. Then her leg began to swell, and her body went into septic shock. That's when doctors realized Parker had acquired a rare infection called vibrio vulnificus, a soft-tissue infection with a high risk of fatality that can lead to necrotis fasciitis, according to the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health

"A lot of the infections, we can treat in the ICU with just antibiotics and supportive care, but there are certain infections like necrotizing fasciitis that doesn't give you much time to treat, it doesn't give you much time to think," Kamal Abulebda, a pediatric specialist at Riley Children's Hospital, told Fox 59. "You have to be very prompt and very urgent in the way you recognize it … before it becomes irreversible." 

Luckily, Parker survived and avoided the amputation of her leg. 

In a statement to the Destin Log on Wednesday, the Florida Department of Health said there are currently "no public health concerns" in Walton or Okaloosa County after Parker's mother's Facebook post on Monday about the incident went viral.

A Destin spokeswoman also told the Log that the city had yet to receive a call from the family, making it difficult to determine a specific location in which Parker might have acquired the infection. Confirmed cases of vibrio vulnificus in the Sunshine State have risen in recent years, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.

In May, Orlando nature writer Bob Morris detailed his experience almost losing his leg after scraping it on an oyster bed, thanks to vibrio. In 2008, there were 16 confirmed cases of the infection, resulting in six fatalities. By 2018, there were 42 infections, resulting in nine fatalities. From 2006 to 2018, the FDH reported 349 vibrio vulnificus infections and 99 fatalities. That timeline also correlates with a dip in the state's overall water quality due to the blue-green algae and red tide crises. 

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