MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — A Lumberton woman is in the hospital after claims on Facebook say that she came in contact with a flesh-eating bacteria at Myrtle Beach.
According to the Facebook post made by her daughter, Bonita Fetterman is in stable condition after she came in contact with a life-threatening bacteria at Myrtle Beach.
Fetterman’s daughter, Marsha Barnes Beal, says that surgery is her only option until the bacteria is completely cut away.
Video from a Facebook post shows Fetterman being secured into a stretcher and taken to UNC Medical Center.
Doctors and the Myrtle Beach City Government have not confirmed the presence of the flesh-eating bacteria.
The Myrtle Beach City Government released this statement following the viral Facebook post.
The City of Myrtle Beach is aware of a Facebook post that claims bacterial issues along the Grand Strand. We have had no reports and no direct contact about any such issues. The city has been unable to confirm the location or date of any such incident. At this point, all we have is a Facebook post, with no confirmation. Our ocean water quality is tested twice weekly, with excellent results. If we can determine where such contact may have occurred, we can order additional water quality tests to determine whether any connection exists.
The viral post has over 53,000 shares as of 5:00 p.m. Monday.
Flesh-eating bacteria is a topic NBC Charlotte has covered in the past.
The bacteria, along with about a dozen others that are related, occurs naturally in areas of warm, brackish waters with low salinity. Most of the 80,000 people who become ill across the United States each year consume raw or under-cooked seafood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
• Necrotizing cutaneous mucormycosis. More than one type of fungus can cause this skin infection, but the most common is Rhizopus arrhizus (oryzae). A cluster of cases, including five deaths, happened among residents injured in a May 2011 tornado in Joplin, Mo.
• Necrotizing fasciitis. More than one type of bacteria can cause this skin infection, but A streptococcus is the most common. In May 2012, this necrotizing fasciitis from Aeromonas hydrophila bacteria forced doctors to amputate portions of all four of Aimee Copeland’s limbs. The Snellville, Ga., native was injured when a zip line that she was riding broke and plunged her into the Little Tallapoosa River, giving her a gash on her leg.
• Vibriosis. Vibrio vulnificus bacteria that live in coastal waters cause this type of infection. It is often associated with deaths from eating raw oysters that can carry the bacteria, but it also thrives in brackish water and can infect a person through a break in the skin.
Those who contract the more severe vibrosis from the Vibrio vulnificus bacterium number fewer than 200, according to CDC reports since 2007, when the agency started to require nationwide reporting.
The CDC reported 21 deaths nationwide attributed to Vibrio vulnificus bacteria in 2014, also about one in five of those hospitalized. Most of the cases did not come from contaminated food.
In 2015, 34 people died across the country from Vibrio bacteria infections, about four percent of those were hospitalized.
“I encourage residents to practice good wound care, as it is the best way to prevent a bacterial skin infection,” Florida Department of Health interim administrator in Brevard County, Miranda Hawker, said in a release from 2016. “Keep open wounds covered with clean, dry bandages until healed and don’t delay first aid of even minor, noninfected wounds like blisters, scrapes or any break in the skin.”
Several flesh-eating organisms are common in nature, but the infections they cause are rare in humans. To cause a problem, they generally enter the body through a break in the skin, such as a cut, scrape, burn, insect bite or puncture wound and often strike people whose immune systems are vulnerable.