- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Early Stages of Mersa,M RSA, Aimee Copeland's Brave Fight of Flesh Eating Bacteria, Necrotizing Faciitis
Today August 23m Aimee returned home. Her home had been adapted so she could continue to live as normally as possible. She has such tenacity I feel she will do awesome!
Aimee's Copeland's Own Webpage
On June 4, 2012 sweet, brave Aimee Copeland was ready to smile for the cameras. it has been a long battle against narcotizing fasciitis through which she lost both hands and her left leg to amputation in order to save her life from the life threatening bacteria. She is a woman of great courage and has vowed to walk on December 2012 to receive her college diploma
Aimee is doing better today . She has been able to get up in a chair and thoroughly enjoyed the visit of national recording star Coree Durkin gave her a private concert. She did lose both of her hands and is fighting infections in her lungs but her family rejoices every time she opens her eyes or mouths some words. She is truly a miracle story.
You can only imagine how it would feel for a healthy young women to find herself in a matter of days without one leg and both feet and hands. She appears to be a fighter though as only last weekend she was not expected to live. Hopefully that desire to live and the love of her friends and family will bring her through this horrifying ordeal whole once again.
Aimee and her family believe in the power of prayer and the support they have gotten through prayer and love has meant a tremendous amount to them.
Amazingly she fought taking pain medication in the early stages during dressing changes ,etc but the disease got so bad she had to give into the need for some kind of relief, She is an amazing young lady!!!
Photos Of Flesh Eating Bacteria.
Notice photos to the right side showing early stages of the disease!!!
Flesh eating bacteria or Necrotizing soft tissue infection (necrotizing fasciitis) is usually caused by A beta-hemolytic streptococci. This is the same bacteria that causes strep throat, rheumatic fever and impetigo. Other forms of bacteria, both aerobic and anaerobic can also cause this disease as was the case of Aimee Copeland, a 24 year old West Georgia student that suffered a gash in her leg while zip-lining across a river she had been tubing in earlier in the day
Aimee's infection was caused by Aeromonas hydrophila. This form of bacteria is often found in dark, brackish water. It is often ingested through swallowing causing diarrhea but entered the skin in Aimee's leg through her cut.
Healthy individuals are as prone to this illness as anyone else although those of us with a weakened immune system are more likely to succumb to the illness. What begins superficially just below the fascia moves deeper to the soft tissue of the fat and muscle below the skin.
The parts of the body most affected by this infection are the abdomen and limbs. In Aimee's case her leg became infected after she her wound had been stapled close.
This bacteria lives everywhere and we may often have it in a small cut with no further incidence. When it does move on to the more dangerous stages the skin around the cut may become red, hot to the touch, have red streaks and ooze with pus. There is often a good deal of increased pain and the patient will feel physically ill all over as if she has the flu with possible fever, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and general malaise.
The faster the treatment the better. The doctors will probably start the patient out on a strong broad spectrum antibiotic moving to iv gamma globulin and sometimes hyperbaric chambers preserve tissue.
MRSA OR Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
MRSA sometimes called Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus because of it's resistance to the antibiotic Methicillin.
MRSA is especially prevalent in nursing homes and hospitals because of the amount of patients with infections, catheters, and open wounds. Many patients have a decreased resistance to infection because of their illnesses.
Staphylococcus aureus lives in and around our nasal cavities but it is when it enters cuts and wounds that the problems begin.
These infections have become more difficult to treat because of their resistance to many different kinds of antibiotics. This is why it is so important to get treatment rapidly and to use good hygiene techniques, hand washing, keeping open wounds covered and clean.
How long have these bacteria been around
MRSA is often seen in IV drug users but it is cause by the staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Flesh eating bacteria has also been called gangrene.
With any form of flesh eating bacteria amputation is often necessary to avoid further spread to other healthy parts of the body and to prevent sepsis or contamination of the entire blood stream which can rapidly lead to death.
The Bacteria have been around for many years. During the civil world men dies of skin wounds causing a form of flesh eating bacteria.
As our arsenate of antibiotics becomes less effective to various bacteria these disease are getting more serious. This is one reason antibiotics should not be overused when a patient only has a virus not treatable by antibiotics such as the common cold or flu.
This disease has now become a problem in prisons, pediatric settings, livestock industry and athletic areas. Some people are nasal carriers of the illness and in the UK some hospitals do routine screening of patients prior to admission. A study of 1300 children in the US found 2.4% to be carriers. Three studies by the health department of Texas found the infection rate among football players to be 18 times the national average.*
MRSA presents itself quickly. A patient may first see a small rash or raised bumps around an affected area. This grows quickly and within 48 to 72 hours without treatment. The bumps become large boils that open up into wounds and spread to nearby tissue. Soon it becomes very difficult to treat.
Alcohol has been found effective in cleaning contaminated areas before an infection can take hold. Any infected boils should be cleaned with phisohex or hibiclean and covered with a protective. dressing. Bactroban ointment has been effective. It is important to note that hydrogen peroxide and bacitracin have also been effective against the bacteria strain.
In hospital settings using hydrogen peroxide vapor has become a superior way to clean clinical areas and patient rooms.
For hand cleaning alcohol based cleaners, phisohex, hibiclens and providone-iodine have been evaluated with the iodine mixture working the best.
People at higher risk for developing MRSA are the elderly, children, people with compromised immune system, health care workers, pet owners, veterinarians, inmates, athletes, IV drug users, and those who live in crowded and especially unclean living areas.
It is so important for health care personal to properly dispose of paper gown and definitely wash hands well between patines.
In homes laundry should be done with detergent mixed with tea tree oil as well as using tea tree oil on hard would flooring.
Toilet seats, handles, faucets, light switches should all be cleaned with an alcohol based disinfectant. Spray disinfectant can also be helpful. People should avoid sharing towels, razors, and other personal items used by others. Prior to entering public pools and hot tubs showers are recommended.
MRSA is more often seen on crowded Florida Beaches and the West Coast Beaches.
Overuse of antibiotics has been touted as a cause for the new antibiotic resistant strains.*
Aimee is doing very well. She is working on her master's in Psychology at West Georgia University .
What MRSA looks Like
You can do several things to prevent acquiring these infections. Never share bar soap, razors or towels of others. Cover any suspicious areas to prevent cross-contamination. Wash your hands frequently. Wipe of exercise equipment before and after use.
If you suspect you have an infected area see a doctor immediately. Signs are rash, swelling, pain, pus, red streaks, and pain. As mentioned previously these bacteria move quickly once in the body. The staph bacteria is found normally in and around the nose area so try to keep your hands free from touching your nose and then other parts of your body. Always wash your hands well and use common since and good hygiene.
Recent studies have been done using sterile Maggots to heal dead and infected tissue of people suffering from MRSA or even severe infections of hand and feet caused by poor circulation from diabetes. The maggots are raised in a sterile environment and put on the patients infected wound in the early stages of the the insects life. It happily feeds on the diseased tissue and within several hours is removed and replaced with younger maggots. Doctors have seen dramatic results and patients say it is painless and has little feeling. See photo of therapy above.
Photos of MRSA and Flesh Eating Bacteria
A hyperbaric chamber or HBO, first developed during WW1 for treatment of divers experiencing decompression illness.HBOT causes the patient to be able to take in 100% oxygen which accelerates activity of antibacterials and white blood cells speeding up the healing process.
These kinds of infections can be prevented in many cases by judicious hand washing especially in health care settings. Cleaning wounds well and applying broad spectrum antibacterial cream to the area, and using general good hygiene to prevent the breakdown of healthy tissues. Dry feet and hands well with a clean towel after washing, Try to prevent the blisters by wearing well fitting shoes and avoid touching anyone already contaminated with strep infection. Cross contamination within health care settings has become a world wide problem
The CDC estimates that there are only about 11,500 cases of flesh eating bacteria in the us a year and only about 1,000 to 1,800 result in death ( The Los Angeles Times)
Links for Necrotizing Fasciitis or MRSA
- How can I Prevent Contracting MRSA
People are very concerned about contracting the Super bugs of Today. How to prevent staph infection causing MRSA.
- MRSA: Contagious, Symptoms, Casues, Prevention, Treatments
Learn more from WebMD experts about MRSA, a contagious staph bacteria that is potentially dangerous.
- Flesh-eating bacteria risk rare despite Ga. student case – USATODAY.com
USA TODAY spoke with William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, about how this atypical infection could occur.
Thanks to PubMed, Mayo Clinic, CDC, MedicineNet, eMedicineHealth, Los Angeles Times, Wikipeadia
© 2012 Nancy McClintock