A mum has shared an urgent warning after her daughter contracted a flesh-eating bug from ‘scraping her toe while paddling in the sea’ on holiday.
Kylei Parker, 12, was left fighting for her life and almost lost her leg in the horror ordeal which saw the skin on her leg turn black and start rotting away.
It’s thought the bacteria entered her body in the water through a cut she had suffered in a skateboarding accident days earlier.
And mum-of-two Michelle Brown fears what happened to Kylei could happen to someone else which makes her “feel sick to my stomach”.
She has now shared horrific photos revealing the rotting black flesh on Kylei’s leg, which left the schoolgirl sobbing in agony and barely able to walk.
She spent a week in hospital and had numerous operations as surgeons battled to save her life and limb.
It was later confirmed Kylei had contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria which results in the death of parts of the body’s soft tissue and spreads rapidly.
Around one in three people die from it, according to a leading health organisation.
Michelle said: “I wholeheartedly believe she contracted the bacteria through a scrape on her big toe (foot on same leg), while we visited Pompano Beach in Destin, Florida.
“I have spent the past few days seeing numerous friends and family at the beach enjoying their family vacations, and I can’t help but feel sick to my stomach and fear for those I know.”
The family went on the trip earlier this month, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the sights.
Storms had hit the area days earlier, and people were told to just dip their feet in the sea.
“The water looked murky,” Michelle said. “We were only allowed in the water to our ankles because the waves were huge and the undertow was too dangerous.
“We made the best of it and had a great day at the beach.”
But the next morning, Kylei woke up with a pain in her calf.
As the week went on, the pain became so severe she was in tears trying to walk and mum Michelle was forced to carry her on her back.
Kylei was rushed to the doctors when they returned home to Indiana in the US – but medics were not sure what was wrong and said the level of pain was “concerning”.
They initially thought it was a blood clot, but Kylei’s condition began to rapidly deteriorate.
Her leg had swelled significantly and she had a red line running down her calf, as well as a fever.
“Everything started going downhill quickly,” Michelle said.
“She had contracted a bacteria somehow that had already turned into infection. It was an aggressive infection and had already spread up her leg to her thigh.
“Her BP [ blood pressure ] was in critical numbers and her HR [heart rate] was very high. They had 4 IVs in and pumping fluids aggressively by machine and by hand simultaneously.
“After many, many hours, they finally were able to stabilize her. She went for an MRI which is when we found it had spread to her thigh.
“We learned Kylei had a very serious infection and the surgery to remove the infection was to try to save her leg, but most importantly her life.”
Michelle continued: “She developed septic shock. She had a second surgery. She improved some and we were able to leave PICU [Pediatric intensive care unit].”
Kylei then went on to have surgery for a third time and surgeons couldn’t find any more infection.
She endured a week in hospital but has since returned home but still has a “long road of recovery to go”.
Michelle said: “We are taking oral antibiotics as well as IV antibiotics 3 times a day, and pain meds every for hours. I have to keep a constant watch of her PICC line, her leg and her temperature.
“Kylei has Necrotizing Fasciitis. This is a type of flesh eating bacteria, that is normally found in water.
“It can be contracted by a scrape, wound, new tattoo, or even through a bruised area of skin. After researching more, 1 out of 3 people who contract Necrotizing Fasciitis die from it, as well as septic shock making that fatality rate even more relevant.
“I am just so thankful for the many prayers, the quick response and efforts of her medical teams and the aggressive treatment she has received. Because of that, I still have my baby girl with me today.
“We are not completely better, but we are on the road to recovery. We will have numerous doctors visits, physical therapy and blood work to continue, but all that matters is my girl is ALIVE.
“I wanted to share her story in hopes that it may help save someone else. It is CRITICAL to be aware of the signs and symptoms and getting treatment quickly.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for Kylei’s treatment. To donate click here.