Title: Colorado Man Recovering After Serious 'Flesh-Eating Bacteria' Infection
Date: April 4, 2011
Source: Examiner

Abstract: It was reported in the Durango Herald Sunday that a man who contracted a rare, devastating case of necrotizing fasciitis is recovering from the infection that took much of his right leg.

The survivor of this horrible disease, Joseph Williams, was treated, including being put into a medically-induced coma, and ultimately received multiple skin grafts was recently discharged from the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver.

However, according to his wife, Jennifer, more surgeries are a possibility plus a lengthy course of physical therapy.

The “flesh eating bacteria” is actually a relatively rare bacterial infection technically known as necrotizing fasciitis.

The most common organism that causes this devastating disease is Streptococcus pyogenes (group A strep), however other bacteria have been implicated (Clostridia andVibrio for example).

It’s called “flesh eating bacteria” because of how it destroys the skin and soft tissue.

This is the same bacteria that cause relatively mild infections like strep throat and impetigo. However, rarely strains of the bacteria produce toxins and enzymes that make the infection spread quickly through the flesh. Though rare, it is very serious with a fatality rate of approximately 30%.

So how does someone get infected? Usually the bacteria enter the body through an opening in the skin, quite often a minor opening, like a paper cut.

It can also happen following a major trauma or surgery, and in some cases, there appears to be no identifiable point of entry.

The bacteria is transmitted through respiratory droplets or contact with the secretions of from someone who has group A strep and this gets on a person’s hands or directly into a wound.

According to WebMD, the symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis start with pain from an injury that gets better over 24 to 36 hours and then suddenly gets worse. Often the pain is much worse than would be expected from the size of the wound or injury.

Other symptoms may include fever, chills, and nausea and vomiting or diarrhea. The skin usually becomes red, swollen, and hot to the touch. If the infection is deep in the tissue, these signs of inflammation may not develop right away.

The symptoms often start suddenly (over a few hours or a day), and the infection may spread rapidly and can quickly become life-threatening. Serious illness and shock can develop in addition to tissue damage. Necrotizing fasciitis can lead to organ failure and, sometimes, death.

The infection is diagnosed based on symptoms and how fast the infection progresses. It can also be cultured to identify the offending bacteria.

Typically, by the time a person is seen by their doctor they are very sick. This medical emergency requires hospital admittance, high dose antibiotics and supportive care for organ failure and shock (Examiner, 2011)

Title: Flesh-Eating Bug That You Can Catch On The Bus Or Train Is Spreading In The UK
Date: February 2, 2012
Daily Mail

Abstract: A flesh-eating form of pneumonia that is easily passed between healthy people on public transport is spreading across the UK, experts have warned.

The deadly strain of MRSA called USA300 passes easily through skin-to-skin contact. It can also survive on surfaces and so has the potential to be picked up on crowded buses and tubes.

It was first seen in the U.S but cases are now being reported in the community and not just hospitals in Britain.

Dr Ruth Massey, from the Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Bath, said extra vigilance was required around this and similar MRSA bugs known as PVL-positive community acquired strains.

USA300 is resistant to treatment by several front-line antibiotics and can cause large boils on the skin. In severe cases, USA300 can lead to fatal blood poisoning or a form of pneumonia that can eat away at lung tissue.

Dr Massey said there were 1,000 cases of PVL-positive community acquired MRSA in England in the last year, of which 200 were USA300 strains.

'These community-acquired strains seem to be good at affecting healthy people - they seem to be much better than the hospital ones at causing disease.

'They don't rely on healthcare workers moving them around, which the hospital ones seem to.'

Dr Massey said USA300 is 'a really big issue in the U.S. and it's starting to emerge here.

'But hopefully because we are aware of it and are working to understand it, it won't become as big of a problem (in the UK).'

In a new research paper published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Dr Massey and colleagues analyse the way community-acquired MRSAs are able to adapt and fine tune themselves to spread outside of hospitals.

MRSA bacteria in hospitals has not been able to migrate into the community in the same way.

Dr Massey said: 'Our research found that the composition of the cell wall of the bacteria is critical to the community-acquired bacteria being more toxic.

'The ability of the MRSA bacteria to secrete toxins is one of the main ways it causes disease.

'Using a sensing system, it carefully controls when it switches on its ability to do this, so as not to cause disease until it is firmly established within the human.

'Many antibiotics target the cell walls of harmful bacteria, and to resist this, the bacteria have to make changes to their cell wall.'

Community-acquired MRSA strains have cell walls that are different to those seen in hospitals, allowing them to sense their environment and switch toxin expression on at the right time.

Justine Rudkin, a PhD student working on the project, said: 'The community-acquired bacteria has evolved further, and is able to maintain a higher level of toxicity while also resisting treatment from antibiotics, making it a much larger problem.'

She added: 'While we are constantly learning more about MRSA, there is a serious threat posed by this newer strain of bacteria capable of causing disease and even death in perfectly healthy people.

'We need to respond seriously to this threat as it reaches Britain from the United States.'

Chris Thomas, professor of molecular genetics at the University of Birmingham, said: 'The key message is that strains of MRSA that are spreading in the community are better able to infect the young and healthy, precisely because they are not actually trying so hard to be resistant as the bugs that have been encountered in hospitals for many years.'

He said there was now a 'need to worry about community super bugs that are fine tuned to spreading outside of hospitals and we all need to be extra vigilant about hygiene and unnecessary use of antibiotics.'

A spokeswoman for the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said: 'The paper highlights some important observations which helps us understand at the molecular level why hospital strains of MRSA are less virulent than the so-called community MRSA strains.

'We have known about community MRSA for over a decade and, whilst they are responsible for a high burden of disease in North America, this is not the case in the rest of the world.

'In England we have seen sporadic cases of this type of MRSA most often causing boils and abscesses, but it has not emerged as a major public health issue in this country.

'The HPA are carrying out active surveillance of this type of bacteria and advise healthcare professionals on correct infection control procedures to reduce the likelihood of spread' (Daily Mail, 2012)

Title: Flesh-Eating Parasite Eats Man's Face, Back
Date: March 6, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: A flesh-eating parasite ate away at a man’s face and back while he was vacationing in South America with his fiancé, according to the Discovery Channel.  

Adam Spencer, 23, from Veneta, Ore., will be featured in an upcoming episode of Discovery's Monsters Inside Me.

Spencer had just proposed to his girlfriend Shalynn Pack when a strange scab began developing on his face as the pair crossed the Bolivian salt flats.

He dismissed the wound as nothing serious; however, over time the scab began to grow and spread across the face.  Soon pus began seeping from the sore, according to the Discovery Channel.

Spencer received antibiotics from a local doctor, and upon returning home to Oregon, he also sought out the advice of Dr. Stephan Ames of Thurston Medical Clinic in Springfield.

'”Adam came in with a wound on the right side of his face. It was firm, but soft and mushy on the inside,” Ames told the Discovery Channel. “I was concerned it was a staph infection, which can infect multiple organs and could cause him to die.”

Ames prescribed penicillin, but while tests found no evidence of a staph infection, the wound continued to grow.

“We didn't know when it was going to stop,” Pack told the Discovery Channel. “It was encroaching his eye.  It was pretty frightening.”

Spencer also began to have trouble swallowing when large white lumps began to grow in the back of his throat.  Meanwhile, the sores spread to his back.

Spencer visited Dr. William Muth of the Samaritan Infectious Disease Clinic in Corvallis, Ore., who diagnosed him with Mucocutaneous Leishmaniasis, caused by a single-cell parasite known as Leishmania.  

The parasite had likely been transmitted by a small sandfly bite in the Amazon.  It was feeding off Spencer’s immune cells, which were trying to fight off the disease.

Muth prescribed a 21-day treatment that finally drove out the parasite and healed the sores.  Spencer is back to planning his upcoming wedding with Pack (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Against Odds, Woman Shows Signs Of Recovery After Contracting Flesh-Eating Bacteria
Date: May 10, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: Despite the odds of survival being "slim to none," Aimee Copeland, the 24-year-old University of West Georgia graduate student battling a deadly flesh-eating virus, is showing signs of recovery and is still fighting to survive.

"Aimee has made drastic improvements today," Andy Copeland, Aimee's father, told FoxNews.com.  "Yesterday, she had some setbacks.  She was really on the ventilator 100 percent, but now she's only requiring 60 percent of the ventilator, and last night she moved her arms."

Copeland also said Aimee's digestive system is showing signs of improvement, which the doctors told him is an extremely good sign.

"When you're in this state, your intestines can actually atrophy," Copeland said.  "So you're wondering, 'Will her intestines actually work?'  Well her intestines are working just fine."

Aimee has even started moving and opening her eyes, just small miracles for the Copeland family.

"She's a little agitated, but she's showing more signs of her personality," Copeland said.  "She's restrained, so she started to get angry, but she responded to me as I tried to soothe her.  These are just small things, but really mean so much."

Unfortunately, despite the improvements Aimee has made the past couple of days, Copeland said she still faces a big uphill battle.

“The bacteria that attacked her has basically shut her capillaries down,” Copeland explained.  “So it appears that because of the combination of the bacteria and medication she’s taking, we'll probably have to remove her hands from her wrist, as well as her foot.  It's something we'll have to get over, but it's something we're going to miss.”

“We’re really just glad to have her alive, because she has such a beautiful mind,” Copeland added.

The whole ordeal started for Aimee when a zip lining accident went from bad to much, much worse.  Just one week ago, Aimee was enjoying a trip kayaking down a creek with some of her friends in Carrollton, Ga.  But when she stopped to ride on a homemade zip line along the water, the line snapped and cut a large gash in her left calf.

Initially, Aimee had gone to the emergency room at the Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton on Tuesday after she had received the gash.  She thought the ordeal was over after the doctors stapled her leg up with 22 staples and told her to take pain medication, according to her father.

But Aimee returned to the hospital Wednesday after she continued to complain of severe pain in her leg.  She was prescribed pain killers and sent home yet again.

The pain still did not subside, so a friend drove a “pale and weak” Aimee to Tanner Medical again Friday morning.  When she arrived, an ER doctor diagnosed her with necrotizing fasciitis – a flesh-eating bacteria disorder of the deep layers of the skin – in her damaged leg.  The bacteria had entered Aimee's body through the gash she had received during the zip lining accident.

“The surgeons advised me that they wanted to try to save her leg, but at this point saving her life took precedence,” Aimee’s father wrote on the Facebook page.  “They removed all of the infected tissue and advised that she would have limited, if any use of her leg.”

Aimee was then airlifted to JMS Burn Center in Augusta, Ga., where doctors rushed her into surgery and performed a high-hip amputation of her left leg.  After surgery, Copeland suffered cardiac arrest, but the doctors were able to resuscitate her.  It was at this point that the doctor’s told Copeland and his wife that Aimee’s chances of survival were “slim to none.”

“We actually sat down with her cardio pulmonologist,” Copeland said.  “I understand he was try to paint a realistic picture, but he really hit us with that.  But then I said, ‘Hey, Aimee is not your average patient.’”

To keep people updated on his daughter’s status, Copeland set up the Facebook page “Believe and pray for a miracle to happen for Aimee Copeland.”  Through the page, friends and family also have been calling for blood donations to help save Aimee’s life. So far, the page has garnered over 17,000 followers, all sending their thoughts and prayers to the Copeland family.    

“The bottom line is that I've been asking people to pray and give blood,” Copeland said.  “I want to create awareness about giving blood for this particular disease.  Blood is required to save her.”

Copeland says that he is certain his daughter will make it through these tragic circumstances, and he cannot wait to see Aimee smile again.
“I will never quit on my daughter,” Copeland said.  “And my daughter will be a remarkable miracle the world's going to enjoy.  The more I put that out there, the more people will rally.  That's what’s keep her going”
(Fox News, 2012)

Title: $500,000 In Stolen Pathology Equipment May Have Hazardous Materials [Flesh Eating Bacteria]
Date: May 11, 2012
Source: Orlando Sentinel

Abstract: Whoever stole some discarded equipment from outside a pathology lab may have gotten more than he or she bargained for.

Orlando police say the equipment, worth about $500,000, is contaminated with a substance that could eat away at human skin.

A pickup hauling a trailer pulled up to Florida Hospital Center for Diagnostic Pathology, 2855 N. Orange Ave., on May 3 and took the equipment from an enclosed area near a large garbage bin, police said. The theft was not reported until Friday, said St. Vince Ogburn, a police spokesman (Orlando Sentinel, 2012)

Title: Blood Drive Set For Flesh-Eating Bacteria Survivor
Date: May 15, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: A blood drive is being held at University of West Georgia for a student fighting a 
flesh-eating bacteria that threatens her life.

Aimee Copeland's left leg has been amputated, and her parents say she will likely lose her fingers as well after the infection spread rapidly through her body.

The 24-year-old graduate student has been in critical condition at an Augusta hospital after the bacteria took hold in a cut she received while zip-lining over a river.

Gary Duke, Copeland's boss at the cafe where she works in Carrollton, tells WSB-TV that townspeople are doing all they can to help her. The blood drive is planned for 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the school gym (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Flesh-Eating Bacteria Patient Sees Bacteria-Ravaged Hands
Date: May 16, 2012
USA Today

Abstract: A Georgia graduate student fighting a rare flesh-eating infection has been looking at her ravaged hands and asking about the damage, all without tears, her father said Wednesday.

What Aimee Copeland still doesn't know is that doctors plan to amputate her all of her fingers, just as they had to remove most of her left leg in order to save her life.

"Her fingers are basically mummified. The flesh is dead," Andy Copeland said in a phone interview from Doctors Hospital in Augusta more than two weeks after a zip-lining accident left a gash in his daughter's leg that developed into the infection.

Copeland's father said she held one of her hands close to her face Wednesday and asked family members about it. He said they told her "your hands have been damaged … and we're trying to bring back as much of the life into the hands as possible."

"She was well accepting," Andy Copeland said. "No tears or anything."

The 24-year-old student from an Atlanta suburb remains in critical condition as she battles an infection called necrotizing fasciitis. Doctors initially feared they might have to remove her remaining foot and both hands. But her father said she now faces losing only her fingers after two days of treatment using a hyperbaric chamber, in which patients breathe pure oxygen to boost white blood cells and accelerate healing. Flesh on her palms that had been purple was turning pink again, he said.

Copeland's father said she was still unaware of plans to amputate her fingers, an emotional disclosure that will likely require a counselor's help.

"We don't know if she's aware of her (amputated) leg yet," he said. "We're in a don't ask, don't tell policy."

The flesh-eating bacteria, Aeromonas hydrophila, emit toxins that cut off blood flow to parts of the body. The affliction can destroy muscle, fat and skin tissue.

Copeland contracted the infection days after she suffered the deep cut May 1 when the zip line snapped over rocks in the Little Tallapoosa River near the University of West Georgia, where she studies psychology.

The bug is found in warm and brackish waters. Many people exposed to these bacteria don't get sick. When illnesses do occur, it's often diarrhea from swallowing bacteria in the water. Flesh-eating Aeromonas cases are so rare that only a handful of infections have been reported in medical journals in recent decades.

In addition to the damage to her extremities, Copeland is on a respirator and a dialysis machine as her lungs and kidneys recover. Doctors also had to remove much of the skin from her torso to keep the infection from spreading, her father said.

Though still heavily medicated, Copeland has become more alert and communicates with her parents and older sister despite the breathing tube in her throat. Her father said Wednesday doctors were removing that tube and inserting another directly into her trachea to make her more comfortable.

"If they take the tube out, I believe reading her lips is going to be a lot easier," he said. "And she might be able to actually cover the tube up and be able to talk."

Andy Copeland said his daughter has been asking for her cell phone, her laptop and a book to read, but is still in no condition to use any of those things. He said her sister, Paige, has been reading to her from a book on meditation (USA Today, 2012)

Title: New S.C. Mom Is Latest Victim Of 'Flesh-Eating Bacteria'
Date: May 17, 2012
USA Today

Abstract: A South Carolina woman who gave birth to twins days ago
 is the latest victim of "flesh-eating bacteria."

WLTX-TV in Columbia reports that Lana Kuykendall, 36, is being treated at Greenville Memorial Hospital. "Right now, just very worried, very upset, " Krissy Davison, a friend of Kuykendall, told the station from the hospital. "Still in disbelief that here is my friend, who just had these two beautiful babies, and now she is incubated upstairs and not able to enjoy the bonding experience and enjoy the babies."

The news of the latest attack of the disease comes days after reports that Aimee Copeland, 24, a grad student in Georgia, lost her leg and part of her abdomen battling the bacteria.

Darren Kuykendall told WYFF-TV in Spartanburg, S.C., that his wife's vitals and blood work are good and physicians remain positive.

"It's devastating, very devastating, very overwhelming, probably the worst thing I've ever done in my entire life," Darren Kuykendall told WYFF from the hospital.

Lana Kuykendall gave birth to twins Ian and Abigail on May 7 at an Atlanta hospital but felt pain in her leg after the couple brought their newborns home to Piedmont.

Physicians don't know how Kuykendall contracted the disease, less commonly known as necrotizing fascitis, but it's commonly spread through a cut or open wound.

Experts say the bacteria that causes the disease is more common than most people realize.

"These are 'people bacteria' that live on us," state epidemiologist Jerry Gibson told WLTX. "It's really spread on fingers from person to person. We rub our nose ... it spreads all over.

"It's a rare but really scary infection," Gibson said. "It's caused by two usually common bacteria, streptococcus and staphylococcus aureus, and we all have them on our body. Then every once in a while they invade and cause a very serious disease. These bacteria have got all these powerful ways of attacking us, and every now and then something turns that on and they go full blast. And the problem is we just don't know how to predict that and prevent it.

Although there are two recent cases in the Southeast, Gibson says the bacteria doesn't normally infect people in clusters.

"It's just chance, it doesn't mean we're going to see another one any sooner. Please don't panic. It's very uncommon here," he says.

Gibson says if you get a cut or wound there are some signs to pay attention to: "If it gets red, it gets painful, it gets swollen up, it's not just an everyday local infection, and then you get care fast" (USA Today, 2012)

Title: Reports Emerge Of Third Flesh-Eating Bacteria Victim With Ties To Georgia
Date: May 18, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: A third case of flesh-eating bacteria has emerged with ties to Georgia, myFOXatlanta reported.

A landscaper from Cartersville is in critical condition at Doctors Hospital in Augusta battling the potentially deadly disease. That's the same place University of West Georgia graduate student Aimee Copeland is being treated.

A Piedmont, S.C. mom is also fighting the infection days after giving birth in Atlanta at Emory University Hospital Midtown.

The new flesh-eating bacteria case involves Bobby Vaughn. The Cartersville landscaper was injured at work when he fell from a tree two weeks ago and suffered a cut to his side.

"He got a cut on his side and took him to the hospital. My son said he was throwing up…They treated him, he chose to leave. He got up the next morning it had spread," said Amanda Nicholson, Vaughn's ex-wife.

Nicholson said that Vaughn spent about a week at Cartersville Medical Center. She says the infection quickly spread from his abdomen to his upper back. He was eventually transferred to Doctor's Hospital in Augusta.

"It was kind of scary at first because, for some reason it was like every two days, when they would go to check, it was spreading, still.  And so finally that was when they sent him to Augusta," said Nicholson.

According to Nicholson, Vaughn has undergone five surgeries as doctors remove nearly two pounds of infected tissue (Fox News, 2012)

Title: Flesh-Eating Bacteria Consumed Man's Penis After Surgery, Says Lawsuit
Date: May 18, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: A man suing after a major medical mistake left him disfigured gave testimony Thursday that revealed the intimate details of his misery.

Late Thursday afternoon, Enrique Milla testified at the Miami-Dade County Courthouse from his new home in Lima, Peru via Skype. He said he wanted a penile implant to improve his sex life in 2007. "About a year before I realized I had problems," Milla said through a translator. "I had problems having intimate relations with my wife. As time went by, that problem got worse."

Milla's attorney argues that an anesthesiologist overlooked his client's pre-existing medical conditions, which resulted in Milla having no more external male genitalia. According to the lawyer, Milla should have never been allowed to undergo elective penile implant surgery to treat erectile dysfunction back in August 2007.

The anesthesiologist involved in the surgery, Dr. Laurentia Boeru, should have never allowed the surgery, the attorney said, because Milla had an extreme case of diabetes and high blood pressure, and his blood sugar levels were way too high on the day of his surgery. He had not seen a doctor in 15 years until that point. "Did he take your blood pressure?" asked the attorney of Milla.

"No," Milla responded.

"Did he take your blood sugar?"


Milla's attorney, Spencer Aronfeld, has argued that his client should have never been allowed to have a penile implant due to his uncontrolled diabetes. "The one and only person who cleared him for this surgery, on that day, was Dr. Boeru," said Aronfeld, "and our entire case is, that at that particular time, he should have said, 'Wait a second, let's treat the medical conditions first.'"

Boeru swore under oath that his obligations and risks only relate to the anesthesia, not the actual implant of the penis and potential risks. "I addressed a small period of time of contact with the patient, which is the preoperative period of time," Boeru said on the stand. "My role is stopped when the epidural catheter, that's what you do in Obstetrics, is out or the patient is out of recovery."

Milla's problems began after a Gangrene infection spread through his penis about nine days after the surgery. Aronfeld detailed the traumatic experience his client went through. "Turned into a flesh-eating bacteria that ate his penis centimeter by centimeter," he said, " and as a result of this, he has to spend the rest of his life without a functioning penis. He has to sit down to urinate. He'll never have any intimate relationships with anyone, and he's lost his manhood."

Boeru's attorney will have a chance to question Milla in the coming days. Then jurors will have to decided of Boeru acted as his physician and at any point committed any medical malpractice (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Third Case Of Flesh-Eating Disease Diagnosed In Ga.
Date: May 21, 2012

Abstract: There is now a third case of the flesh-eating bacteria in Georgia. 

Robert Vaughn, 32, of Cartersville said he is not sure how he got the infection, but on May 3, the landscape business owner had just finished a project, and when he got back to the office. 

"Just godawful pain in my groin area. It's hard to walk, hard to sit down, it just hurt, hurt all in my back," Vaughn said. 

His business partner, Justin Troup, was with him and told Channel 2 Action News, Vaughn just got violently ill. 

"He began to get sick, throwing up for about three minutes and had to go lay down. The next thing I know he's in the hospital, and he's been there ever since," Troup said. 

That was May 4. 

Vaughn said doctors told him he has a form of the flesh-eating bacteria, but he's not sure where he got it from. 

"I was weed-eating something and I may have gotten hit by something. That's the only thing I can think that happened," Vaughn said. 

At one point Vaughn was right next to Aimee Copeland in the same hospital, but his health improved and they moved him off intensive care. 

That was after he said doctors removed 2½ pounds of dead tissue from his leg. 

He is expected to make a full recovery but it still remains a mystery how he contracted the disease. 

Dr. Robin Dretler is an infectious disease specialist and said it is extremely rare for someone to contract a flesh-eating bacteria unless there is a deep cut to the body where bacteria can get past the protective layer of the skin
(WSBTV News, 2012)

Title: Second Victim Of Flesh-Eating Bacteria Clings To Life Following Seven Operations Within Days Of Giving Birth To Twins 
Date: May 21, 2012
Source: Daily Mail                              

Abstract: A new mother infected by a flesh-eating virus is clinging to life following seven operations to try to save her.

Lana Kuykendall fell ill shortly after being released from hospital following the birth of her twins on May 7, being readmitted just 13 hours later. 

The 36-year-old has been kept 'intubated and sedated' her brother said, at a hospital in Greenville since May 11, as she battles necrotizing fasciitis.

The brother, Brian Swaffer, told CNN that the babies, Ian and Abigail, are doing well and are in the care of relatives, adding that their mother still has 'a long road ahead'.

'She does respond sometimes, you can see in her blood pressure,' he said. 'She has opened her eyes a little bit at times but that's about it.

'We don't know what the next day is going to bring, so we're just trusting the Lord. We're taking it one day at a time.'

The infection began as a small bruise on Kuykendall's leg, though it began growing rapidly -- about one quarter of an inch an hour. 

The mother from Upstate, South Carolina, is now in critical condition at a hospital in Greenville. 

Mrs Kuykendall, 36, is the second woman in the South to contract a rare bacterial infection called necrotizing fasciitis, which can spread rapidly as it kills flesh. 

Aimee Copeland, 24, a graduate student at the University of Georgia, has last one leg, both her hands and her remaining foot after she was infected when she cut herself after falling from a homemade zip line.

On Monday her family was offered hope after she was taken of her ventilator and breathed on her own for the first time.

A third victim of the bacteria has been identified as 32-year-old Bobby Vaugh who became infected when he fell out of a tree and cut his side.

Vaugh as lost two pounds of flesh from his groin and back since catching the aggressive bug. He went to the doctor after the infection site grew from the size of a peanut to that of a grapefruit and is recovering from five surgeries.

Mrs Kuykendall is a trained paramedic, who knew something bad had happened when she spotted the spot on her leg and began experiencing pain that wouldn't go away, the Greenville News reported. 

She had been home from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where she gave birth to Ian and Abigail, for just 13 hours.

Her husband took her to the hospital and within 90 minutes, she was in emergency surgery. Doctors removed the dead, infected flesh on her leg in the hopes that they could stop the bacteria from spreading.

Before she went into surgery, Mrs Kuykendall and her husband Darren watched in horror as the infection visibly spread throughout her leg.

'And the longer she sat there, the bigger that spot got. It was initially the size of a 3-by-5 index card. But it got bigger and bigger,' Mr Kuykendall, a firefighter, told the newspaper.

'It moved a quarter of an inch in half an hour. Then the high-risk OB physician had a suspicion of what it was.'

Mrs Kuykendall is currently in the intensive care unit of Greenville Memorial Hospital, breathing through a tube. And she's missing out on some of the most important early days of her newborns' lives. 

'(We're) still in disbelief that here is my friend, who just had these two beautiful babies, and now she is intubated upstairs, and not able to enjoy the bonding experience, and enjoy the babies,' her friend Kayla Moon told MSNBC (Daily Mail, 2012).

Title: Flesh-Eating Disease Lands Man In Same Hospital As Aimee Copeland
Date: May 22, 2012
ABC News

Abstract: A Georgia landscaper is battling flesh-eating disease at the same Augusta hospital as 
Aimee Copeland, the 24-year-old student who lost her leg to the deadly infection.

Robert Vaughn, 32, contracted necrotizing fasciitis after cutting on his thigh while trimming weeds May 4, three days after Aimee Copeland sliced open her calf falling from a homemade zip line near the Little Tallapoosa River.

Vaughn went to a hospital in Cartersville, Ga., where doctors gave him a prescription for antibiotics and recommended he stay for observation, theAtlanta Journal-Constitution reported. But Vaughn, "being the man that I am," went home and watched the painful gash swell from the size of a peanut to that of a grapefruit.

He returned the next day and underwent emergency surgery.

"It was that bad," he told the newspaper, describing how doctors removed some of the infected flesh and sent him to Doctor's Hospital in Augusta for more surgeries. "They told me I was close to death."

It took five surgeries to remove more than two pounds of tissue infected by bacteria that burrowed deep into Vaughn's wound.

"The bacteria produce enzymes that can dissolve muscle deep down," said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., and president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. "And because it's so deep, it can be a sneaky infection that's not immediately appreciated by the patient."

The symptom that should ring alarm bells, according to Schaffner, is "serious, unremitting pain."

"An otherwise healthy individual with a seemingly superficial injury who has severe pain should have a much more thorough evaluation," he said.

Indeed Vaughn said the pain was so bad he "could hardly move," the AJC reported.

Vaughn is expected to undergo skin grafts today to replace some of the tissue removed during surgery.

"They have to rebuild my groin area," he told the AJC. "But I'm feeling much better now."

Vaughn was at one point next door to Copeland, who isslowly recovering from the infection that claimed her left leg and threatens to take her right foot and both hands. The two cases occurred 54 miles apart.

"Ironic? I don't know what the right word is," Jeff Buzhardt, Vaughn's brother-in-law, told ABC News.

Copeland's infection was the work of Aeromonas hydrophila, a bacteria that thrives in warm climates and fresh water like the river where Copeland was zip lining with friends.

Doctor's Hospital spokeswoman Barclay Bishop said she couldn't comment on the cause of Vaughn's infection, stating only that he was in good condition. She added that 8.5 percent of the hospital's intensive care patients in 2011 were admitted for necrotizing fasciitis.

"It's not uncommon for us to have these kinds of patients," she said. "[Aimee Copeland's] obviously a more extreme case than what we're used to seeing, but it's not uncommon for a hospital to have this."

Vaughn is the third person to contract flesh-eating disease in Georgia in three weeks. Lana Kuykendall, 36, developed necrotizing fasciitis May 11 after giving birth to twins at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. She is reportedly in critical but stable condition.

Doctors say the cases are rare and unrelated.

To reduce the risk of necrotizing fasciitis, all wounds big and small should be immediately cleaned, treated with antimicrobial ointment and covered with sterile bandages, according to the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation (ABC News, 2012).

Title: Flesh Eating Bacteria Likely Lurking In Hampton Roads
Date: May 22, 2012

Abstract: As a rare flesh eating bacteria threatens the lives of 
three Georgia people, infectious disease experts say it is very likely the same bacteria that is lurking in the waters or soil in Hampton Roads.

“Once it gets into the tissue and the muscle, it starts literally eating the tissue up,” said EVMS Doctor Nancy Khardori.  “They’re present everywhere.  They’re in soil.  They’re in water.”

Khardori told NewsChannel 3 the deadly bacteria, a rare form of Strep, likely infected the Georgia patients through a wound and started eating away at their flesh and muscle tissue.

“Anytime a patient gets injured, gets an open wound from bacteria from the water or soil can get in, we must think of these kinds of bacteria,” said Khardori, who said areas  like Hampton Roads that are surrounded by so much water are more likely to see this type of bacteria, especially during the summer.

“People are more in contact with water,” she said.

Khardori said you should pay special attention if you have certain symptoms after a cut or scrape.

“[Infected people] have fever, they have chills, they’re not feeling well,” said Khardori, who has studied the disease for decades.  “If the wound looks real serious and deep, they need to go see somebody.”

The Centers for Disease Control report as many as 15,000 Americans are infected with the flesh eating bacteria each year.  Only a fraction is as bad as what those in Georgia are experiencing.

Doctor Khardori said the sooner you get to the hospital, the better.

“It’s really a matter of time,” she said.  “If it’s caught early enough, it’s completely curable” (WTKR News, 2012).

Title: Grandfather Battling Flesh-Eating Bacteria After Accident
Date: May 22, 2012
My Fox Atlanta

Abstract: A grandfather is hospitalized in Macon after contracting a life-threatening flesh-eating condition. 

Paul Bales, 67, retired to Milledgeville, but owns a restaurant in Lithonia.

Bales suffered a cut in his leg when he fell on May 2 as he cleaned up his boat ramp at his Milledgeville house. He believed that the injury was minor, so he put a Band-Aid on it and didn't even go to the hospital. 

"It was a very small cut...as a matter of fact, he just bandaged it up and then went and played golf for the next couple of days," said his son, Mike Bales. 

However, the cut had come into contact with water so – like
Aimee Copeland – he contracted dangerous flesh-eating bacteria. 
Bales' son Mike is a 16-year-veteran and captain with the DeKalb Fire Department. Capt. Bales says the flesh-eating bacteria that threatens his dad's life has already led to two tissue-removing surgeries, but there's more.

"The antibiotics just can't fight that infection anymore because I guess that the disease – the bug eats at the vessels," Mike Bale ssaid. "Tomorrow morning, he's scheduled to be amputated below the knee. Hopefully that will get it and he doesn't have to lose anymore." 

Like the Copeland's, the Bales are asking for prayers and wondering  just how their loved one, along with grad student Copeland, 
new mother Lana Kuykendall, and Cartersville landscaper Bobby Vaughn, all contracted the same potentially deadly condition around the same time.

"Over the last three decades, only about 200 cases nationwide and then all of a sudden we've got four in the last month," said Mike Bales. 

Bales was initially listed in critical condition, but has stabilized and is now listed in serious condition. His doctors believe he is strong enough to endure surgery on Wednesday
(My Fox Atlanta, 2012).

Title: Doctors Treat 6 In Omaha For Flesh-Eating Bacteria
Date: May 23, 2012

Abstract: The Nebraska Medical Center said it's treated six people in the past month for a rare flesh-eating bacteria.

One woman said it started as a simple infection. Doctors said it spread significantly, and that's when they found that she had necrotizing fasciitis, a much more dangerous type of infection.

What was supposed to be a mother-daughter day for Jane Bisenius in Omaha turned into a day of worry.

"I noticed in the morning a little, round pinkish-red circle on my elbow, my left elbow," Bisenius said.

Bisenius said she started to feel worse over the course of the day, displaying flu-like symptoms. Then things got serious on the drive back home to Schaller, Iowa.

"That red dot swelled up to about an oval the size of your cupped hand, and it became very hot and very painful," she said.

Bisenius ended up in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber at the Nebraska Medical Center after two days in a smaller hospital.

Doctors said necrotizing fasciitis can be caused by any number of staph or strep bacteria.

"It can spread along there very quickly and cause a lot of tissue damage, a lot of muscle damage, to the point you could lose your extremity within a matter of hours," said Dr. Jeff Sartin.

Sartin, who specializes in infectious diseases, said the infections can start anywhere -- particularly in water environments (KETV News, 2012).

Title: Son: Flesh-Eating Bacteria Struck Milledgeville Man
Date: May 24, 2012
13 WMAZ News

Abstract: The family of Paul Bales tells us today he's recovering and resting after doctors partially amputated his left leg, which was infected with the flesh-eating bacteria.

That's according to the man's son, Mike Bales of Dacula. 

Wednesday evening, Mike Bales told 13WMAZ that his father, Paul Bales was out of surgery and in stable condition after his left leg was amputated below the knee.

He said his dad lives on Lake Sinclair near Milledgeville and injured his leg when he slipped and fell on his dock May 2.

Paul Bales bandaged the cut and went golfing the next day but started feeling pain in his leg.

He was admitted to the Oconee Regional Medical Center on May 5, then sent to the Medical Center of Central Georgia a week later.

Mike Bales says doctors have told the family that his father suffers from necrotizing fasciitis, the same flesh-eating bacteria that struck north Georgia student Aimee Copeland and at least two other Georgians.

Part of the left leg had to be amputated because the bacteria damaged blood vessels in his leg, Mike Bales said.

After the surgery, he told us that doctors found more infected tissue in his father's leg and will have to operate again.  He said they could remove more of the leg.

Medical Center spokeswoman Janie Poulnott said Paul Bales is in stable condition but would not comment further (13 WMAZ News, 2012)

Title: 4th Victim Loses Leg To Flesh-Eating Bacteria
Date: May 25, 2012

Abstract: An astounding third 
victim in Georgia—the fourth in recent weeks in the Southeast—has been infected by a flesh-eating bacteria and has already lost his leg to the disease. Paul Bales cut his leg three weeks ago while removing a section of dock on Lake Sinclair in Milledgeville. "Very small cut. He just bandaged it up and played golf for the next couple of days. He didn't think it was a big deal," Bales' son told WGXA-TV. Bales' leg was amputated below the knee yesterday, and he's listed in stable condition, though doctors may have to amputate more of the limb.

The infections, which all seem to be linked to cuts and exposure to lake or river water, are beginning to panic Georgia residents. Another victim affected by the flesh-eating bacteria in the last few weeks is from South Carolina. "People are scared they'll lose limbs. Everybody in town's scared to go out on the water," said a Lake Sinclair resident. But a Macon County family doctor cautioned against overreacting to the frightening outbreak of necrotizing fasciitis. “We have thousands of people getting in Georgia rivers and lakes and aren’t getting this,” he told the Macon Telegraph (Newser, 2012)

Title: Ga. Woman Fighting Flesh-Eating Bacteria Speaks For The First Time
Date: May 29, 2012

Abstract: The young Georgia woman fighting a rare flesh-eating bacteria has spoken for the first time in weeks, 
according to NBC News in Augusta.

The 24-year-old graduate student's father, Andy Copeland, told NBC's WAGT that Aimee spoke on Sunday. "The first thing that she said was, 'woah.' She said, 'wow, this is amazing.' She was shocked to hear her own voice."

Aimee has been battling necrotizing fasciitis -- a bacterial infection that can destroy muscles, skin and tissue -- since cutting her leg on a homemade zipline on May 1. Surgeons amputated her left leg at the hip, her hands and remaining foot. She remains in critical condition but has been breathing on her own since being removed from a ventilator. Last week she was able to sit up in a chair.

Her first words are another important milestone in her difficult recovery.

"I would say her existence, her life, is a miracle," Copeland told NBC. "Because when she arrived over at Doctor's Hospital, she basically had a less than 1 percent chance of survival."

Her father has been recording her progress in a blog. The family's next hope is for Aimee to recover enough to leave the ICU.

A 1996 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated there were 500 to 1,500 cases of necrotizing fasciitis annually in the United States, with about 20 percent of them fatal. The National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation has said that estimate is probably low (MSNBC, 2012)

Title: Fifth Victim Has Emergency Surgery As Flesh-Eating Bacteria Strikes Again
Date: June 2, 2012
Daily Mail  

Abstract: A South Carolina grandmother has become the fifth victim of the flesh-eating bacteria that has sparked terror across Georgia.

Louise Thompson underwent emergency surgery to remove infected flesh from her leg and was in a coma for five days.

Until being diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis she had never even heard of the bacteria, which attacks soft tissue and muscle. 

Thompson had gone to a Simpsonville doctor reporting a pain in her leg that she said felt ‘like pins sticking in my skin’ but no visible signs of infection.

She ended up in hospital undergoing surgery to remove ‘a place the size of a regular football’, myfoxcarolina.com reported.

 Thompson is now recovering at the Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital in Greenville and on Friday stood up for the first time in months. She said she hopes the next step will be getting home.

'I won't ever ignore something that's sore anymore,' she told the news channel. ‘I just really thought that I wasn't  going to live.'

Four other victims are recovering in hospitals after picking up the rare and serious disease in Georgia after picking up the bacteria from cuts and wounds. 

Doctors say the cases are unrelated and that the bacteria is not contagious. 

The aggressive disease first made headlines when it struck Aimee Copeland, a 24-year-old graduate student from Little Tallapoosa River, who cut her leg when she fell from a homemade zip-wire.

Doctors were forced to amputate her leg, her foot and both her hands as the necrotizing fasciitis spread rapidly through her body.  

The second victim of the flesh-eating disease, Lana Kuykendall, 36, noticed the infection on the back of her leg just hours after being released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where she gave birth to twins.

She has had seven surgeries to remove the infected flesh and remains in critical condition at Greenville Memorial Hospital in South Carolina, near her home. 

Bobby Vaughn, 33, was the third victim. He has been upgraded to good condition after doctors removed two pounds of flesh from his groin. 

He became infected after he cut his thigh while cutting weeds in Cartersville. 

Paul Bales of Lake Sinclair became victim number four after he cut his leg while installing a new dock at the lake on May 1.

It was a very small cut that didn’t stop the grandfather playing golf the next day but within four days the cut had swelled and he was forced to have his leg amputated. 

Despite the bizarre outbreak of the disease, Dr Mike Green, of Macon, said people shouldn't over-react and become paranoid about becoming infected.

It remains very rare, he said.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2153739/FIFTH-victim-emergency-surgery-flesh-eating-bacteria-strikes-again.html#ixzz1zVGmfHUM

Necrotizing fasciitis, more commonly known as 'flesh-eating disease', is a rare but extremely vicious bacterial infection. 'Necrotizing' refers to something that causes body tissue to die, and the infection can destroy skin, muscles and fat.

The disease develops when the bacteria enters the body, often through a minor cut or scrape. As the bacteria multiply, they release toxins that kill tissue and cut off blood flow to the area.

Because it is so virulent, the bacteria spreads rapidly throughout the body.

Symptoms include small, red lumps or bumps on the skin, rapidly-spreading bruising, sweating, chills, fever and nausea. Organ failure and shock are also common complications.

Sufferers must be treated immediately to prevent death, and are usually given powerful antibiotics and surgery to remove dead tissue. Amputation can become necessary if the disease spreads through an arm or leg.

Patients may undergo skin grafts after the infection has cleared up, to help the healing process or for aesthetic reasons (Daily Mail, 2012)

Title: California Pastor Dies After Fight With Flesh-Eating Bacteria
Date: June 14, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: Friends, family and parishioners are mourning the loss of a Sacramento-area pastor who died Tuesday after a battle with  necrotizing fasciitis – commonly referred to as "flesh-eating bacteria."

Fox 40 reports Linda Snyder contracted the flesh-eating disease in January after the bacteria invaded a wound she had, possible an abscess.

"She developed lots of complications as a result of the bacteria and surgeries to contain the bacteria," Snyder's daughter Karen told Fox 40. " Her lungs were really scarred and she had lots of lung issues and pneumonia almost nonstop."

Snyder had served as the pastor of Sacramento's United Methodist Church for a decade, and had ministered to hundreds in the Methodist community. Karen says her mother was her best friend.

"She was a woman of faith and that gave her the strength and passion to live her life," she told Fox 40 (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Woman Pastor Dies After Contracting Flesh-Eating Bug In Sixth Case Of Deadly Bacteria Identified In America
Date: June 14, 2012
Daily Mail

Abstract: A long-serving and well-loved pastor has been killed by a flesh-eating bacteria infection that has already left five others seriously ill.

Linda Snyder, from Sacramento, who is a preacher at city's United Methodist Church, died this morning following a six-month battle with the deadly germ called necrotizing-fasciitis.

She was the sixth person to have developed a flesh-eating infection over the course of the last two months.

At the beginning of June South Carolina grandmother Louise Thompson underwent emergency surgery to remove infected flesh from her leg and was in a coma for five days.

And last month student Aimee Copeland from Georgia College had to have her leg, her foot and both hands amputated and is still in intensive care after bacteria got into a cut she developed following a fall.

Mrs Snyder contracted the deadly disease on January 6 after bacteria got into a wound, possibly an abscess, she had developed in December.

Doctors tried to contain the spread of the bacteria, but her daughter Karen told Fox 40 that her mother had developed lots of complications and medical staff were unable to contain it.

The horrible infection scarred her lungs and  caused her to develop pneumonia.

Mrs Snyder, who has given the sermons at the United Methodist Church for the last decade, was a popular figure and her daughter described her as her 'best friend.'

'She was a woman of faith and that gave her strength and passion to live her life,' she said.

Mrs Snyder had been married to her husband Chuck for 37 years and was said to adore her grandchildren.

The bacterial infection is called flesh-eating because of its particularly aggressive nature - skin rapidly disappears when the germ takes hold.

Family and friends of Mrs Snyder will gather at Japanese United Methodist Church on June 30 to say their final goodbyes.

While fellow victim Miss Copeland is still in intensive care, on Tuesday doctors downgraded the 24-year-old's condition from critical to serious, indicating that she continues to improve after the horrible bacteria nearly took her life. 

On the same day, Lana Kuykendall, the new mother who was infected with the bacteria days after she gave birth to twins at an Atlanta hospital, improved her condition to fair after spending weeks in intensive care.

Miss Copeland's father, Andy, said physicians believe his daughter should be out of intensive care and ready to move into the hospital's rehabilitation clinic near the end of the month.

'She's going to have to learn to use prosthetic limbs,' he said.

'But the critical-care phase, I believe, has come to an end.'

He said one doctor who had expected her to spend months in intensive care was 'blown away by her rate of progress.'

Miss Copeland was infected with the insidious bacteria after she fell from a homemade zip-line into the Little Tallapoosa River near Carrollton and cut her thigh on rocks.

Mrs Thompson had gone to a Simpsonville doctor reporting a pain in her leg that she said felt ‘like pins sticking in my skin’ but no visible signs of infection.

She ended up in hospital undergoing surgery to remove ‘a place the size of a regular football’ it was reported.

Mrs Thompson is still recovering at the Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital in Greenville but on Friday she stood up for the first time in months. She said she hopes the next step will be getting home.

She said: 'I won't ever ignore something that's sore anymore, I just really thought that I wasn't  going to live.'

Bobby Vaughn, 33, was the third victim. He has been upgraded to good condition after doctors removed two pounds of flesh from his groin.

He became infected after he cut his thigh while cutting weeds in Cartersville. 

Paul Bales of Lake Sinclair became victim number four after he cut his leg while installing a new dock at the lake on May 1.

It was a very small cut that didn’t stop the grandfather playing golf the next day but within four days the cut had swelled and he was forced to have his leg amputated. 

Despite the bizarre outbreak of the disease, Dr Mike Green, of Macon, said people shouldn't over-react and become paranoid about becoming infected.

It remains very rare, he said.

Necrotizing fasciitis, more commonly known as 'flesh-eating disease', is a rare but extremely vicious bacterial infection. 'Necrotizing' refers to something that causes body tissue to die, and the infection can destroy skin, muscles and fat.

The disease develops when the bacteria enters the body, often through a minor cut or scrape. As the bacteria multiply, they release toxins that kill tissue and cut off blood flow to the area.

Because it is so virulent, the bacteria spreads rapidly throughout the body.

Symptoms include small, red lumps or bumps on the skin, rapidly-spreading bruising, sweating, chills, fever and nausea. Organ failure and shock are also common complications.

Sufferers must be treated immediately to prevent death, and are usually given powerful antibiotics and surgery to remove dead tissue. Amputation can become necessary if the disease spreads through an arm or leg.

Patients may undergo skin grafts after the infection has cleared up, to help the healing process or for aesthetic reasons (Daily Mail, 2012)

Title: Boy Develops Rash, Dies While Visiting SoCal Lake
Date: July 18, 2012
CBS Los Angeles 

Abstract: Tevita Alatini, a 7-year-old originally from Texas, died after developing a mysterious rash under his arm while vacationing with family July 9 at Camp Pendleton’s Lake O’Neill Recreational Park near San Diego.

Alatini was with his family when he developed a small rash that spread quickly. When he complained of a pain in his side, his family rushed him to the emergency room where he died a short time later.

A medical examiner in San Diego is waiting for tests to help determine Alatini’s cause of death.

“It sounds like an overwhelming strep or staph infection,” said Dr. William Thompson, who never treated Alatini but suspects the boy died from a flesh eating bacteria that devours tissue and muscle after entering the skin through a small cut.

Dr. Thompson says he’s surprised by the number of patients he has treated in the last few years with the flesh eating bacteria. Dr. Thompson says, just like Alatini, it starts with an aggressive rash and leads to organ failure.

“It’s disconcerting because the morbidity is so high with these patients,” said Thompson.

Thompson says the staph or strep that causes the flesh eating bacteria likely wasn’t picked up in the lake.

Alatini’s uncle Sione Niko spoke by phone with CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Stacey Butler and said his nephew never entered the water.

“He was just laying there, not feeling well and he started to feel really sick,” said Niko.

Why most people are resistant to the infection and others aren’t remains a mystery.

In a statement, the San Diego medical examiner’s office said Alatini had a severe infection. The exact cause of death remains undetermined pending further testing (CBS Los Angeles, 2012)

Title: South Carolina Boy Dies From Brain Amoeba
Date: July 19, 2012

Abstract: A child from Sumter County, 
South Carolina has succumbed to a rare “brain-eating” amoebic infection according to health officials.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced Wednesday that laboratory results confirm that the unnamed boy died as a result of infection with the parasite, Naegleria fowleri.

DHEC Director Catherine Templeton said, “We are saddened to learn that this child was exposed to the deadly organism Naegleria fowleri. While this organism is present in many warm water lakes, rivers and streams in the South, infection in humans is extremely rare.Naegleria fowleri almost always results in death.

How do you get this microscopic creature and what exactly does it do to you? People typically get it by swimming, jumping or playing in freshwater and get the water up their nose. From there the parasite travels to the brain and spinal cord and necrotizes, or basically eats brain tissue.

The disease is known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) and it has a very rapid progression. Typical symptoms may start after a day or two; headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. Later symptoms may include seizures, irrational behavior, hallucinations and finally coma and death. The course of the disease typically last about a week. Because the symptoms are very similar to bacterial meningitis, PAM may not even be considered in the diagnosis.

Fortunately, it’s a pretty rare disease, with only approximately 32 cases in the past decade. Unfortunately, treatment is usually unsuccessful with only a handful of people surviving infection.

You should always assume there is some risk when swimming in freshwater. The location and number of amoeba present in a body of water varies from time to time. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommends these four steps to reduce your risk of infection:

• Avoid water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater, hot springs, and thermally-polluted water such as water around power plants.
• Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.
• Hold the nose shut or use nose clips when taking part in water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers, or hot springs.
• Avoid digging in or stirring up the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas
(Examiner, 2012).

Title: Michigan Woman With Flesh-Eating Infection Necrotizing Fasciitis Dies
Date: July 31, 2012
CBS News

Abstract: A Farmington Hills, Mich. woman has died after battling the flesh-eating bacterial infection, necrotizing fasciitis.

Thirty three-year-old Crystal Spencer died on July 29 in Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital in Commerce Township, Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press. She passed away about one month after she had originally been admitted to the hospital for the disease,CBS Detroit reported.

The family is requesting an autopsy to determine why Spencer died. Jeff Spencer, Crystal's husband, told the Detroit Free Press through his lawyer that he believes that his deceased wife got necrotizing fasciitis after she went to Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills in June to have a large boil on her thigh lanced. Two days later, she was receiving care at Huron Valley-Sinai for the flesh eating bacteria and had a four-hour procedure to remove what her husband described as a watermelon-size piece of flesh from her thigh.

"We have real concerns about - that she possibly got this infection - the procedure may not have been done appropriately that's the working assumption right now and we are seeking all the medical records to confirm whether that's true or not," Spencer's attorney Brian Benner told CBS Detroit.

Spencer had to have a tracheotomy tube inserted to help her breathe and had several skin grafts to cover areas affected by the infection. Surgery was required to remove a mass from her stomach as well. She had been sent home after showing improvement, but came back to Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, where she passed away.

Botsford spokeswoman Margo Gorchow denied claims that Spencer got the disease at the hospital to the Detroit Free Press. She said that Dr. Gerald Blackburn, the hospital's infectious diseases director, and others had looked at Spencer's case, and they believe she did not get the bacteria from the hospital. Because she had several risk factors for the infection such as being overweight, a smoker and a diabetic - "the classic example of a person at risk" Gorchow explained - she was "more vulnerable" to developing the disease. Gorchow also pointed out that Spencer, who entered the hospital with no symptoms, failed to see a doctor the day after she had her boil removed as was recommended on her discharge instructions.

Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare and serious bacterial infection that spreads quickly through soft tissue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Being able to accurately diagnose and treat it quickly can help with recovery. The infection can be caused by more than one type of flesh-eating bacteria, which may enter through a cut, scrape, burn, insect bite, puncture wound or any break in the skin. Chronic health conditions and diseases like diabetes and kidney disease and lower the body's ability to fight off the infection.

There have been several high profile cases of the disease recently, including the case of Aimee Copeland from Georgia. The 24-year-old contracted the disease following a zip-lining accident in which she received a deep cut. Despite losing both hands, her left leg and her right foot, she's showing promising improvements in rehabilitation therapy and her doctors are optimistic (CBS News, 2012)

Title: Mich. Flesh-Eating Bacteria Patient Dies
Date: August 1, 2012
USA Today

Abstract: Twelve days after doctors told a woman that she was finally clear of a life-threatening flesh-eating bacteria infection, she took a turn for the worse and died.

Crystal Spencer, 33, had spent a month in and out of three hospitals. Her husband had been visiting a rehabilitation hospital Sunday where she was about to be transferred when the hospital called and told him to return immediately.

"As soon as I got off the elevator," the staff told him, "We've got some bad news," Jeff Spencer said.

A team of eight doctors worked for more than an hour to resuscitate his wife, amid alarms indicating she was near death three times. She died at 3:36 p.m. Sunday.

The family is raising money to conduct an autopsy to find out as much as they can about what happened. Results could take several weeks.

Until about a week ago when they learned that their application for Medicaid had been approved, the Spencers had limited health insurance. Now Jeff Spencer said he has thousands of dollars in medical debt from care not covered by insurance.

Crystal Spencer was a high school dropout and had been poor and underinsured or uninsured most of her life. She had adult-onset diabetes and weighed more than 300 pounds all of her adult life, factors that put her at higher risk of contracting the flesh-eating bacteria.

Her death from necrotizing fasciitis has drawn national attention to a rare disease many had never heard of and others knew only by its scary name: the flesh-eating bacteria.

Nationwide, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 500 to 1,500 cases a year; 1 in 5 people dies from it. Many others have fingers, toes or limbs amputated because the bacteria eats away at underlying layers of tissue.

Many cases are misdiagnosed or found late, according to the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation, a nonprofit founded by two women who survived the infection.

The foundation hopes to raise awareness about a problem that needs more education and hospital early intervention programs so symptoms can be caught and treated with antibiotics or the removal of dead skin and infected tissue, a procedure called debridement. Others need surgery, including extensive skin grafts.

Too often, patients get the wrong treatment because the infection is misdiagnosed, according to the foundation

Jeff Spencer said doctors at Huron Valley-Sinai in Commerce Township, Mich., originally had told him his wife had a urinary tract infection. At Botsford Hospital here, where she first sought care June 23 for what she thought was a boil on her upper right thigh, an emergency department physician lanced the protruding tissue and sent her home with a Motrin prescription, said Theresa Corwin of Farmington Hills, a close friend.

She and Spencer blame Botsford for not running blood tests to see whether white blood cell counts were elevated, a sign of infection.

They also wonder why a doctor there called the infected area on her leg an "abscess" -- an accumulation of pus and tissue triggered by an infection -- but gave them no warning that Crystal Spencer might be contagious. Corwin, who said she is certified in CPR and first aid, was given the job of cleaning the wound and changing the dressings four to five times a day when her friend got home.

On Monday, Botsford spokeswoman Margo Gorchow said it was unlikely that Crystal Spencer contracted necrotizing facitiitis there because the infection typically is not acquired in a hospital, and the woman had none of its symptoms when she came to the emergency department.

A spokeswoman for Huron Valley-Sinai declined comment both Monday and Tuesday, citing patient privacy laws.

Mostly, Spencer said he wants answers because "we don't want this to happen again to someone else" (USA Today, 2012).

Title: Texas Man Latest Victim Of Flesh-Eating Bacteria, Loses Leg
Date: August 10, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: A Texas man is the latest victim of flesh-eating bacteria.

Keith Korth, 44, of Brenham, Texas, lost his leg due to the necrotizing fasciitis, click2houston.com reported.

Korth was on a fishing trip in Port O’Connor this past weekend competing in a tournament, according to family and friends.  They believe that is where he contracted the flesh-eating bacteria.

Korth’s leg was amputated two inches above the knee.

Dr. Luis Ostrosky, of UT Health/Memorial Hermann, who did not treat Korth, told the news station it’s important to note that 99 percent of people will not contract a flesh-eating bacteria – it’s that rare.

But the bacteria can seep into a wound as small as a paper cut, he told click2houston.com.

Doctors at Methodist Hospital in Houston have not commented on Korth’s condition to the TV station (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Man Contracts Flesh-Eating Bacteria After Fall Into Lake
Date: August 18,
My Fox Atlanta

Abstract: A small cut on a Milledgeville man's leg led to a life-threatening infection.

Paul Bales, 67, slipped on a boat dock and fell into Lake Sinclair on May 2.

"I stepped on a flat rock and slipped. I got up and had a scratch on the back of my leg, it wasn't bleeding, wasn't anything else," said Bales.

Bales, an avid golfer, hit the greens the next day, only to pass out.

"I was on the golf course and my cousin said I started acting very strangely…acting like I was…having a heart attack," he said.

Bales didn't know that he contracted deadly flesh-eating bacteria while in the lake. It's the same flesh-eating condition grad student Aimee Copeland has.

The retired restaurateur woke up two weeks  and three surgeries later in a Macon hospital to learn doctors had amputated just below the knee.

"My sons were told I was going to die," said Bales. "It was very serious."

Bales said that he believes his injury had more to do with how he reacted to his scratch than the water.

"Don't be scared of the water. If you get a scratch, get a cut -- take care of it. Just be careful. That's all I can say. Be careful and take care of yourself," said Bales.

Bales is still in therapy and is waiting to be fitted for his prosthesis, which can't happen until his wounds have healed
(My Fox Atlanta, 2012)

Title: Brain-Eating Amoeba Came From Faucet
Date: August 23, 2012

Abstract: Two recent cases of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) show that municipal tap water can harbor the amoeba responsible for the fatal disease, according to CDC researchers.

The deaths of two adults in Louisiana hospitals of infectious meningoencephalitis are the first recorded PAM cases in the country associated with the presence ofNaegleria fowleri in household plumbing served by treated municipal water, wrote Jonathan Yoder, MPH, of the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, and colleagues in Clinical Infectious Diseases online.

The cases also are the first reports of a potential link between PAM and the use of a nasal irrigation device, the group added. As a result, the CDC recommended that patients who use a neti pot or similar device for nasal irrigation distill, filter, or boil the municipally treated tap water before use.

The authors noted that tap water in the U.S. has not historically been a common source of exposure to N. fowleri, a free-living amoeba commonly found in warm, typically untreatedfreshwater such as lakes, ponds, and rivers. However, it also can be found in warm groundwater and inadequately treated swimming pools.

PAM symptom onset occurs 1 to 7 days after exposure, and symptoms of infection are similar to bacterial or viral meningitis, including headache, fever, stiff neck, anorexia, vomiting, altered mental state, seizures, and coma.

In the first case, a 28-year-old man abruptly developed symptoms of severe occipital headache radiating down the neck, neck stiffness, back pain, and intermittent vomiting, as well as confusion, fever, and disorientation at admission to the emergency department.

"The patient had chronic allergic sinusitis and irrigated his sinuses with a neti pot at least once daily, using tap water to which he added a commercially available salt packet," the authors explained.

Several amoebae were detected in samples taken from the patient's home, including Hartmannella,Vannella, and Naegleria sp. Water collected from a tankless water heater was polymerase chain reaction (PCR) positive for N. fowleri, although the neti pot was PCR negative for N. fowleri.

In the second case, a 51-year-old woman had presented symptoms over 3 days of altered mental status, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, listlessness, fatigue, and high fever, as well as neck stiffness and thyromegaly upon examination at an emergency department.

She also had sinus problems and regularly used a neti pot. Water samples from the kitchen faucet, shower, bathtub, and bathroom sink in her home tested positive for N. fowleri.

While no amoebae were cultured from the neti pot, the chance of recovering organisms from a dry neti pot after 2 months was unlikely, the authors pointed out.

Following their deaths, the CDC further investigated the source of the amoebic contamination at the patients' homes and municipal water supplies.

In both cases, municipal water sources tested negative for the amoeba and identification of PAM only occurred after treatment was not effective -- in the first case, the patient was declared brain dead before N. fowleri infection was confirmed, while in the second, identification occurred during the autopsy.

The agency noted that although the salt used in neti pot devices can kill off potential contaminants, the "length of contact time found in real world conditions (<1 minute) would probably not effectively inactivate Nfowleri, which probably requires hours for full inactivation."

They further clarified that the amoebae "were not isolated from the municipal water system in the Louisiana cases; Naegleria sp. were isolated from the premise plumbing, along with other amoebae."

The authors also cautioned that N. fowleri cysts and trophozoites are fairly resistant to chlorine disinfection, but it remains uncertain how the amoeba arrived at the patients' homes and how it was able to colonize the household hot water systems.

They noted that the geographic pattern of this climate-sensitive, thermophilic amoeba seems to be shifting up from the southern U.S., with more cases reported in warm freshwater locations after localized heat waves.

"It is unclear whether the increased temperature and heat waves projected in climate change models will lead to further expansion of the [amoeba's] geographic range," they said (MedPageToday, 2012).

Title: Kaylee Queen Flesh Eating Bacteria: Michigan 18-Year-Old In Hospital After Contracting Two Kinds Of Bacteria
Date: August 29, 2012
Huffington Post

Abstract: Michigan teenager 
Kaylee Queen is in the hospital after being infected with flesh-eating bacteria (also known as necrotizing fasciitis) and another, unknown, bacteria, according to news reports.

The 18-year-old, from Burton, had flu-like symptoms and experienced a raised, growing rash on her body, that prompted her family to bring her to the hospital last week, WJRT reported. A couple of days after arriving the hospital, doctors performed surgery on Queen to remove infected muscle and tissue.

She had been staying in the intensive care unit at the Flint hospital, but has just been moved out to the surgery and recovery floor, according to a Facebook page set up in honor of Queen.

Kaylee is out of ICU and has moved to surgery/recovery floor. She can now have visits from her friends. Flowers and balloons are allowed. This is the 4th floor.

ABC 57 reported that doctors say Queen's recovery is expected to take months.

The exact source of the bacteria is not known, "but going from the site of where it started ... it looks like possibly from shaving," Dianna told WJRT.

According to the 2007 World Journal of Emergency Surgery study, necrotizing fasciitis can be hard to diagnose -- but being too slow to identify it carries an increased risk of death.

The first symptoms are typically seen in the first day, and include new wounds elsewhere (even though the original wound usually doesn't yet look infected), the sensation of pain somewhere near the original wound and flu-like symptoms.

Three or four days later, the part of the body where the infected wound is may start to swell up and dark marks and rashes may occur. The actual woundmay also start to have a "bluish, white, or dark, mottled, flaky appearance," according to the study. And within four or five days, the body's blood pressure may decrease and may experience septic shock. The person may also become unconscious (Huffington Post, 2012)

Title: Vietnam Reports First Case Of ‘Brain-Eating Amoeba’
Date: September 2, 2012
Outbreak News

Abstract: A 25-year-old man perished to the amoebic infection after contracting it while trying to catch fish in a pond in his hometown.

According to a Saigon Giai Phong report, Dr. Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, director of the TropicalDiseases Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, assured the public on August 30 not to be worried about ‘Naegleria fowleri’, the brain-eating amoeba, saying it’s quite rare with only 144 cases reported since 1965 worldwide.

Dr. Chau said that this is the first case of its kind in the country.

How do you get this microscopic creature and what exactly does it do to you? People typically get it byswimming, jumping or playing in freshwater and get the water up their nose. From there the parasite travels to the brain and spinal cord and necrotizes, or basically eats brain tissue.

The disease is known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) and it has a very rapid progression. Typical symptoms may start after a day or two; headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. Later symptoms may include seizures, irrational behavior, hallucinations and finally coma and death. The course of the disease typically last about a week. Because the symptoms are very similar to bacterial meningitis, PAM may not even be considered in the diagnosis.

Fortunately, it’s a pretty rare disease, unfortunately, treatment is usually unsuccessful with only a handful of people surviving infection.

You should always assume there is some risk when swimming in freshwater. The location and number of amoeba present in a body of water varies from time to time. The Centers ofDisease Control and Prevention recommends these four steps to reduce your risk of infection:

• Avoid water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater, hot springs, and thermally-polluted water such as water around power plants.
• Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.
• Hold the nose shut or use nose clips when taking part in water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers, or hot springs.
• Avoid digging in or stirring up the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas
(Outbreak News, 2012)

Title: Brain-Eating Amoeba Suspected In Indiana Man's Death
Date: September 4, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: An autopsy report shows a parasite known as the "brain-eating amoeba" killed a southwestern Indiana man.

State and federal officials haven't yet confirmed 30-year-old Waylon Abel of Loogootee died of a rare infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis, but the autopsy report released Friday lists it as his primary cause of death.

He died Aug. 7, just over three weeks after a family outing at West Boggs Lake, about 60 miles northeast of Evansville. The beach there was ordered closed Friday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has three confirmed cases of the disease this year in Minnesota, Oklahoma and South Carolina. A CDC spokeswoman says it expects to receive and test samples of the suspected Indiana case later this week.

The parasite thrives in warm water (Fox News, 2012)

Title: Researchers Warn Contact Lens Wearers Of Parasite That Gnaws Through Eyeballs
Date: September 7, 2012

Abstract: Researchers are warning about a dangerous parasite found in dust, as well as sea, pool and tap water, that could cause blindness to contact lens users.

The acanthamoeba parasite has the potential to gnaw through the eyeball of an exposed contact lens wearer, which results in blindness, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The Centers for Disease Control refers to the ocular infection as “acanthamoeba keratitis” on its official website.

“[The parasite] is a microscopic, free-living [amoeba], or amoeba … that can cause rare, but severe infections of the eye, skin, and central nervous system,” the site states. “The [amoeba] is found worldwide in the environment in water and soil … [and] can be spread to the eyes through contact lens use, cuts, or skin wounds or by being inhaled into the lungs.”

Symptoms reportedly include itchy, watery eyes, sensitivity to light, swelling in the upper eyelid, blurred vision, and extreme pain. Additionally, the damage to a sufferer’s vision could become permanent within a week of infection, optician Graeme Stevenson told the Daily Mail.

“Generally it leaves you with scarring. Your cornea is your window on life and if the infection penetrates in towards the third layer you are left with scarring, with a kind of frosty windscreen,” he explained to the Daily Mail, adding that approximately 75 reported infections per year could be prevented by patients following instructions from their doctors.

Stevenson added, “Usually a lot of it is non-compliance. It’s patients rinsing their case out in tap water or rinsing their lenses out in tap water. Potentially something as simple as swimming or showering while wearing their lenses increases the risk significantly.”

Regular lens care and cleaning is recommended for those wishing to avoid infection. Treatment options reportedly include eye drops every 20 minutes, day and night, or time in the hospital.

Cornea transplants have also been given in extreme cases, the Daily Mail learned.

Though research has most recently come from the United Kingdom, scientists warn that the problem is international.

Fiona Henriquez, researcher at the University of the West of Scotland, told the Daily Mail that it could be a “potential problem for every single contact lens wearer” (CBS D.C., 2012).

Title: Vietnam Reports Second Ever ‘Brain-Eating Amoeba’ Death
Date: September 19, 2012

Abstract: In a 
follow-up to a story earlier this month, Vietnamese health officials report Wednesday, Sept. 19, the second-ever fatality due to the parasitic amoeba in the country.

According to a Vietnam Net report Wednesday, Director of the Preventive Medicine Agency, Dr. Nguyen Van Binh, confirmed that the child who died of brain abscess in Ho Chi Minh City is actually killed by brain eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri.

Dr. Binh continues, "The test results show that the samples of the child are positive for amoeba Naegleria fowleri."

The 6-year-old boy from Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Thanh District is the second case of a person being infected by the deadly amoeba in the Southeast Asian country.

The first patient, a 25-year-old male from the southern province of Phu Yen, died from contracting the amoeba after diving in a lake near his home to catch mussels a little over a month ago.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Naegleria fowleri (commonly referred to as the "brain-eating ameba or amoeba"), is a free-living microscopic amoeba, (single-celled living organism). It can cause a very rare, but severe, infection of the brain calledprimary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). The amoeba is commonly found in warm freshwater (e.g. lakes, rivers, and hot springs) and soil.

Naegleria fowleri usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose. Once the amoeba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM, which is usually fatal. Infection typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. In very rare instances, Naegleria infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated and contaminated tapwater) enters the nose.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Health has warned people not to swim in lakes and rivers and limit water flow into their noses (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Georgia Woman Battling Flesh-Eating Bacteria
Date: September 20, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: A Georgia mother of two is in intensive care, battling flesh-eating bacteria. Desiree Alford thought she had a bad cold or the flu, but she soon learned it was much more serious, MyFoxAtlanta reported.

Alford's parents that say in addition to the flu-like symptoms, she had one small red spot that quickly grew. By the time they rushed her to the hospital, doctors had to do emergency surgery.

Cathy and David Bagley said they've seen the news about Aimee Copeland and others with flesh-eating bacteria, but they never imagined it would happen to anyone they know, much less their daughter.

"Wham – it's right here in your family. You wouldn't think that it would happen to your family," said Cathy Bagley.

Alford, 28, initially thought she had the flu but when her condition got worse, her parents rushed her to  Upson Regional Medical Center. Doctors there broke the news that she had contracted flesh-eating bacteria.

"He said if we hadn't got her here when we did, that she wouldn't have had a chance," said David Bagley.

The Bagleys say they have no idea where she could have gotten the bacteria. She's a stay-at-home mother of two whose world revolves around 4-year-old Jermaine and 6-year-old Ashlynn.  

Doctors have already removed two baseball-sized lumps of flesh and muscle.

"They removed 90 percent of the infection on her backside," said Cathy Bagley. "He had to go in and scrape it out. I saw it for the first time, it's just awful" (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Brain-Eating Amoeba And Other Diseases That Could Spread With Climate Change
Date: September 21, 2012
Source: Care2

Abstract:  Global warming is the greatest threat facing our planet today.

Scientists have been telling us this for a while: a warming planet alters weather patterns, water supplies, seasonal growth for plants and a sustainable way of life for us and the world’s wildlife.

But have you considered how climate change can affect your health?

Experts note that climate change may also be impacting certain environmentally sensitive diseases, and not in a good way. Read on, if you dare!

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),

Changes in climate may enhance the spread of some diseases. Disease-causing agents, called pathogens, can be transmitted through food, water, and animals such as deer, birds, mice, and insects. Climate change could affect all of these transmitters.

Translated, that means certain diseases will be able to proliferate due to rapid changes in water, heat and air quality. Here are just five examples. More can be found on the EPA site.

1. Salmonella
Let’s start with salmonella bacteria, the most frequently reported cause of food-borne illness. You may remember that two years ago,
 a salmonella outbreak caused by contaminated chicken eggs sickened more than 1,600 people across the United States, sending many victims to the hospital with severe infections.

Salmonella is a rod-shaped bacilli that can cause diarrheal illness in humans by passing from the feces of people or animals to other people or other animals.

What’s the global warming connection? Higher air temperatures can increase cases of salmonella and other bacteria-related food poisoning because bacteria grow more rapidly in warm environments. As if that were not bad enough, flooding and heavy rainfall can cause overflows from sewage treatment plants into fresh water sources. Overflows could also contaminate certain food crops, as was suspected with Taylor Farms lettuce last year.

2. Giardia
Giardiasis, caused by the parasite Giardia intestinalis,  is an infection of the small intestine and is the most common cause of water-borne, parasitic illness in the U.S.  Up to 2.5 million cases of this disease 
are reported each year in the U.S., and up to 20 percent of the world’s population is chronically infected.

As a backpacker, I spend much of my summer exploring wilderness areas and I know I am at risk of contracting giardiasis if I  drink from contaminated fresh water lakes, so I always treat my water. But giardiasis is also a common cause of outbreaks of diarrhea in day-care centers because of the high probability of fecal-oral contamination from children.

In general, giardiasis occurs where there is inadequate sanitation or treatment of drinking water. The most common manifestations of giardiasis are diarrhea and abdominal pain, particularly cramping; the symptoms and signs of giardiasis do not begin for at least seven days following infection, but can occur as long as three or more weeks later. And as I know from several hiker friends, the recovery period can be really long.

What’s the global warming connection? Heavy rainfall or flooding can increase water-borne parasites such as Giardia intestinalis that are sometimes found in drinking water, and it can cause stormwater runoff that may contaminate water bodies such as lakes and beaches, that  are used for recreation.

3. Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is spread 
through the bite of a blacklegged tick that is infected with Borrelia burgdorferi. Typical symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic skin rash. Most people recover after taking antibiotics, while up to 20 percent of sufferers experience symptoms that can continue for years.

However, if you want to find out how terrible and life-changing this disease can be, read about author Amy Tan’s experience: an outdoor bucolic wedding in upstate New York led to hallucinations, the inability to drive and a life of constant anxiety.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2010, the most recent data available, there were over 20,000 confirmed cases in North America. In the United States, most infections occur in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, from northeastern Virginia to Maine; in north central states, mostly in Wisconsin and Minnesota; and on the west coast, particularly northern California.

What’s the global warming connection? The geographic range of ticks that carry Lyme disease is expanding as air temperatures rise. Patrick Leighton is a researcher at the University of Montreal:

From Scientific American:

“Currently, the areas where we are seeing a larger tick population is in the eastern part of the country along the U.S. border,” said Leighton, who observed that ranges for ticks are expanding by roughly 45 kilometers per year. He said the spread was linked to established Lyme disease hosts like white-tailed deer, suitable forest habitat and warmer temperatures.

“If you look historically, increases in temperature have been important [for Lyme disease],” he said. “The main thing that our study showed was that under warmer climate conditions, ticks move faster.”

4. West Nile Virus
West Nile virus is a disease spread by mosquitoes. West Nile virus was first discovered in the United States in the summer of 1999 in New York. Since then, the virus has spread throughout the United States. This is a type of virus known as a flavivirus. Researchers believe 
West Nile virus is spread when a mosquito bites an infected bird and then bites a person.

The milder version of the disease, generally called West Nile fever, may cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, muscle aches, nausea, rash or a sore throat. These symptoms usually last for 3 – 6 days, but there is a much more serious form of the disease that can be life-threatening.

However, on the positive side, many people who are bitten by mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus do not notice any symptoms at all.

What’s the global warming connection? In 2002, a new strain of West Nile virus, which can cause serious, life-altering disease, emerged in the United States. Higher temperatures are favorable to the survival of this new strain; since 2012 is the hottest year on record in the United States according to the National Climatic Data Center, it’s probably not a coincidence that some of the states hit hardest by West Nile have also felt the brunt of the heat.

5. Brain-Eating Amoeba
This one may be the scariest of all.

From The Advisory Board Company:

CDC researchers say that the two Louisiana individuals who died last year from a brain-eating primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) contracted the infection after using neti-pots with tap water harboring the bacteria, according to a study in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The victims’ deaths, the first recorded PAM cases in the U.S., were linked to the presence of Naegleria fowleri in the tap water they used to regularly clear their sinuses with neti pots, the study says. The municipal tap water tested negative for the bacteria, but one victim’s tankless water heater and the other’s sink and faucet tested positive for the bacteria.

What are the symptoms of PAM? In the first case, a 28-year-old man developed a severe headache, neck stiffness, back pain, confusion, fever and vomiting and became extremely disoriented. The second victim was a 51-year-old woman who suffered from nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, fever and neck stiffness.

What’s the global warming connection? The CDC believes that as temperatures increase, these bacteria can colonize in household plumbing and tap water. CDC researchers say there has been a shift north in the geographic pattern of where PAM cases are reported, perhaps due to a climate change or localized heat waves.

As always with the possibility of disease, the best approach is not to stay home and avoid all contact with insects. Rather, be careful! Personally, I’m not so fond of white-tailed deer any more, and I always check for those ticks after a hike in the park. Stay safe! (Care2, 2012).

Title: New York Firefighter Loses Leg To Flesh-Eating Bacteria
Date: September 29, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: A firefighter who traded his leg for his life has been released from a Long Island hospital following a battle with a flesh-eating bacteria.

Ralph Lettieri, of East Patchogue, nearly died when a poison ivy rash was infected by a microbe that began killing off tissue in his left leg.

Doctors say there was only one way to save him. They amputated the leg above the knee.

Newsday reports that the 26-year-old will be getting a prosthetic leg.

Lettieri says he was down at first, but now feels he has a new lease on life.

He says he hopes to return to firefighting, and plans to work for his father's construction company (Fox News, 2012)