An Indianapolis woman died after her family said she contracted a flesh-eating bacteria during a Florida vacation.
Carol Martin, 50, died after 16 days in the hospital following a vacation to the Tampa Bay area. Family members told WFLA Martin spent time in the hot tub at the hotel and later, when she arrived home, discovered a painful sore on her buttocks.
She sought medical treatment twice, though the diagnoses of necrotizing fasciitis – or flesh-eating bacteria – wasn’t made until a visit to the emergency room. Martin was rushed into surgery.
Officials in Marion County, Florida said they are collecting tissue samples to determine if the bacteria was a contributing factor in Martin’s death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, necrotizing fasciitis is a serious bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body’s soft tissue. It is treated with antibiotics and surgery to remove infected areas but is often deadly in a short period of time.
To avoid necrotizing fasciitis, the CDC recommends:
- Keep draining or open wounds covered with clean, dry bandages until healed.
- Don’t delay first aid of even minor, non-infected wounds (like blisters, scrapes, or any break in the skin).
- Avoid spending time in whirlpools, hot tubs, swimming pools, and natural bodies of water (e.g., lakes, rivers, oceans) if you have an open wound or skin infection.
- Wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if washing is not possible.