Indiana girl contracts flesh-eating bacteria on vacation in Florida

Updated: Jun. 27, 2019 at 11:23 AM CDT
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WARNING: This story contains graphic images.

MOORESVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - After a family vacation, a 12-year-old girl returned home to Indiana with a flesh-eating bacteria she likely contracted in the ocean.

Kylei, from Mooresville, Ind., was with her family on vacation in Florida. After spending a day at Pompano Beach, in Destin, Florida, she woke up in pain, according to a Facebook post from her mom.

Her mom took to Facebook to share what happened to her daughter.

“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," Michelle Brown wrote.

Kylei woke up with some pain on June 10, but they thought it was a charlie horse because it got better throughout the day and she was able to walk on it. The next day, she woke up in more pain and could only walk on her toes. On June 12, Kylei had severe pain in her calf to the point of tears when she tried to walk, her mom said.

“I had to put her on my back and carry her around," Brown wrote on Facebook. They left to return home that morning and get her to a doctor.

Kylei went to the doctor in her hometown in Mooresville, about 30 minutes from Indianapolis, on June 13, still being carried around due to the level of pain. Her doctors did not know what was wrong and found the amount of pain she was in concerning.

Doctors said it would take too long for specialists to see her and they wanted her to go home, grab clothes and head to Riley Hospital for Children Emergency Room in Indianapolis.

“When we left the doctor’s office after hearing that I started freaking out,” Brown told WTHR. “I knew something was wrong because a doctor doesn’t send you home to pack, to go to an E.R."

When Kylei got to the hospital she had a fever of 99.9°, but about 30 minutes later it jumped to 103°. Her calf was swollen and warm to the touch.

Kylei’s mom says after that everything seemed to go downhill, quickly.

Doctors discovered the infection had already spread up her leg to her thigh and she had a pocket of infection behind her knee. Kylei was rushed into emergency surgery to try and remove the infection from her muscle lining.

“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,” Brown wrote in the Facebook post.

Kylei went through three surgeries. Following the last surgery, doctors placed a wound vacuum in her leg to suction anything that may seep out of the incision.

She went into septic shock at one point in the hospital. But after her third surgery, doctors couldn’t find any more signs of the infection.

“Kylie has Necrotizing Fasciitis. This is 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,” Brown wrote. She believes Kylei contracted the bacteria through a scrape on her big toe.

Necrotizing Fasciitis can be deadly to those who contract it. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one in three who get it die from the illness.

“We will have numerous doctors visits, physical therapy and blood work to continue, but all that matters is my girl is ALIVE,” Brown said on Facebook.

She wants to spread awareness about the illness, so people know the signs to look for and get care quickly. It can be a matter of life and death.

Kylei is home now, but has a long way to go. During her recovery she is on antibiotics and pain medicine, and her mom is keeping watch of her.

“There is a possibility it my effect her, that she may not be able to walk normally,” Brown told WTHR.

Kylie’s aunt created a GoFundMe page for the unforeseen medical expenses and the physical therapy Kylie will need.

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