Destin officials looking into flesh-eating bacteria claim
DESTIN — City, county, and health department officials are looking into a possible flesh-eating bacteria case that may have been contracted in the Gulf.
According to the city of Destin spokesperson Catherine Card, the city hasn’t received a call from the family making it difficult to determine the exact location.
“We’re not sure if they were in Destin or Walton County,” Card said.
Card added that officials need more information, but the Okaloosa County Health Department is aware. The local health department referred inquiries to the state. Repeated attempts to contact the Florida Health Department have been unsuccessful.
The investigation stems from a Facebook post that has gone viral. In Monday’s post, which has been shared over 160,000 times, Michelle Brown wrote that her daughter contracted an infection called necrotizing fasciitis during a family vacation in Destin.
In the post, Brown said the family arrived in Destin June 7, but didn’t actually go out onto the beach until June 9. The family visited “Pompano Beach,” which could refer to a Destin beach access or a similarly named location in Walton County. They were trying to make the best of their visit despite double red flags closing the Gulf off to the public, Brown said in the post.
The next morning, Brown said her daughter began having pain in her calf, which continued into Wednesday.
“Wednesday morning, June 12th, she had severe pain in her calf and was in tears trying to walk,” Brown wrote. “She couldn’t. I had to put her on my back and carry her around. We left for home that morning.”
Brown said they headed home to Indiana. As they arrived to Indiana on June 13, Brown took her daughter to the doctor around 11 a.m. still carrying the child, who was unable to walk.
The doctor recommended Brown to Riley Hospital for Children. Brown said as they left the doctor’s office, her daughter developed a rash on her body. When the family arrived to the hospital around 2 p.m., everything began to go down hill, Brown said.
“It was an aggressive infection and has already spread up her leg to her thigh,” Brown wrote. “Her (blood pressure) was in critical numbers and her (heart rate) was very high. They had 4 IVs in and pumping fluids aggressively by machine and by hand simultaneously.”
Brown said when they stabilized her daughter, doctors took her to get an MRI, where they found the infection 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,” Brown wrote. “She developed septic shock. She had a second surgery. She improved some and we were able to leave (the pediatric intensive care unit) and to a regular room and floor.”
Brown said her daughter spent a week at the hospital before being released. She wrote that she “wholeheartedly” believes her daughter contracted the disease in Destin through a scrape on her big toe located on the infected leg.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, necrotizing fasciitis is “a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly in the body and can cause death.”
The infection can be contracted through open wounds or skin infections in hot tubs, swimming pools, and natural bodies of water like oceans, the CDC website says.