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Michigan Woman Contracts Flesh-Eating Bacteria

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FARMINGTON HILLS (WWJ) – A Farmington Hills woman has been hospitalized after coming in contact with flesh-eating bacteria.

A source talking to WWJ Newsradio 950 said the woman had several surgeries since being admitted to the hospital — and also had a mass removed from her stomach.  She was listed in serious condition on Friday.

Family members said the woman likely contracted the illness after visiting a local hospital to have a boil lanced.

St. John Hospital infectious disease expert Dr. Leonard Johnson says there are many different types of bacteria that can become flesh-eating — and they’re very common.

“And many people, 5 percent of people, can carry this bacteria and not have any signs or symptoms at all,” Johnson told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Sandra McNeil.   “It’s only a very small minority of people where it can set up and cause these types of infections.”

Dr. Johnson said the only treatment is antibiotics and to remove the infected areas, which could include limbs.

“There’s been some small studies done in therapies like hyperbaric therapy, but those are very unproven and I would say that those are really considered experimental at this point,” he said.

Dr. Johnson said you usually can’t contract the bacteria by touching someone with it.  But, he said it is possible to contract it from swimming, although it’s rare.

The woman’s name has not been released.

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