TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - An Indiana teen contracted so-called flesh-eating bacteria during a vacation in Destin, Florida. Within days, she was forced to have surgery to save her leg.
"It is just so hard seeing friends and family on the beach having a good time, we were doing the same thing," Kylei Parker's mother, Michelle Brown said.
Kylei's injury started as a skateboarding wound, but it became a gateway for necrotizing fasciitis.
"A scuff on her toe almost cost her her life," Brown pointed out.
By the time they got back to Indiana, Kylie's leg was painful and had swelled. Her temperature was up and surgery was needed to remove a chunk of her leg.
"I told my mom multiple times, I just want to be normal again," said Parker.
Kylei is one of between 700 and 1,200 people in the U.S. who contract the bacteria each year.
While the number of cases isn't rising, the CDC says one-in-three will die.
"A very small wound, and the thing that terrifies you as a doctor is you are seeing this get worse," said Dr. Jason Wilson, an emergency room doctor at TGH. "No matter what you do, it continues to get worse."
Wilson says to watch for pain that seems worse than it should, spreading redness, and texture changes in an area.
"Unfortunately, these are very serious encounters, and they do occur, but they are very rare," Wilson said.
As Kylei found out, Florida's warm water helps the bacteria flourish, and fresh wounds are always the riskiest. Doctors were able to save most of her leg, and most importantly, her life.