Family says girl contracted flesh-eating disease at Florida beach

A 12-year-old Indiana girl nearly lost her leg after contracting a flesh-eating disease, likely while swimming at a Florida beach.

Kylei Parker and her family took a vacation to Destin, Florida, earlier this month. The trip was going well until Kylei began feeling pain in her left leg, Kylei's mother, Michelle Brown, told WXIN-TV.

By the time the family returned to their Mooresville, Indiana, home, Kylei’s leg had swollen and she was running a fever. Brown called the family doctor, who then directed Brown to take Kylei to the emergency room.

“When they told me we needed to go home and pack bags and get to Riley (Hospital for Children in Indianapolis), my anxiety went from 0 to 110,” Brown said. “I knew something was wrong.”

Doctors at first thought Kylei had a blood clot. However, they soon discovered she had actually contracted necrotizing fasciitis -- a bacterial infection that can enter the body through open wounds and attacks the skin and tissue, People reported.

Kylei had scraped her toes while riding a skateboard just days before swimming in Destin. Now, Brown said she believes the bacteria entered Kylei's body through the scrape on her toes.

Kylei had to undergo emergency surgery to save her leg and her life, Brown said.

“If it wasn’t for their quick responses and aggressive treatments, we wouldn’t have her … It’s hard for me to think about if I had waited one more day, or even a couple more hours. We’re just very fortunate,” she said.

Kylei is now back home after spending a week in the hospital. She still has an IV in her arm for antibiotics. She’ll be taking therapy to help her walk again.

"I've told my mom I just want to be normal again with my leg," Kylei said.

Even with treatment, up to 1 in 3 people who contract necrotizing fasciitis die from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends anyone with an open wound or skin infection avoid spending time in pools, hot tubs or natural bodies of water.

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