|Picture and money jar set up to collect funds for Aimee Copeland of Georgia, who lost her leg after she contracted a flesh-eating bacteria while zip-lining at the Little Tallapoosa River.|
A Georgia woman who lost her leg after contracting a rare flesh-eating bacteria after a zip-lining accident could lose more limbs, her family warned.
Aimee Copeland, 24, remains in critical condition at Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga. nearly a week after suffering a cut on her leg that now threatens her life.
The bacteria causing the disease is “usually not life-threatening,” Dr. Jay Varkey, an epidemiologist at the Emory University School of Medicine, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday. “It requires a perfect storm of bad circumstances. And when it happens in those rare cases, it can be dramatic.”
Copeland is one of those rare cases: She has had most of her left leg amputated since the horrific May 1 mishap.
The young woman was kayaking with friends along the Little Tallapoosa River in Georgia when the group went zip-lining with a homemade rope, The Journal-Constitution reported.
When it was Copeland’s turn, the line snapped, and she fell and cut her leg. Doctors speculate she could have come into contact with the common bacteria — called Aeromonas hydrophila — from the water, where it then entered her body through the gash.
In her case, the bacteria triggered a flesh-eating disease that can dissolve muscle, doctors said.
Copeland, a master’s student at the University of West Georgia, had the cut closed with 22 staples, according to reports. She was sent home with pain killers.
But the unbearable pain didn’t stop, and she returned to the hospital and received antibiotics.
By the end of the week, she had to have her left leg amuptated at the hip after she was diagnosed with an infection called necrotizing fasciitis.
“It’s a miracle she made it past Friday night,” Copeland’s father, Andy, told ABC affiliate WSBTV in Atlanta.
She could still have her hands and right foot amputated because of poor circulation, The Journal-Constitution said.
The number of cases of disease caused by the bacteria is not well-documented, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and “most cases have been sporadic rather than associated with large outbreaks.”
Andy Copeland wrote on Facebook on Wednesday that well-wishers “should rejoice on this day, because Aimee’s greatest attributes are her incredible intellect and her loving compassion and I am certain that mankind will benefit from both when the tubes are finally removed.”
Originally posted by ERIK ORTIZ