Utah woman catches flesh-eating bacteria from infected spider bites

A Utah woman is being treated for flesh-eating bacteria after she suffered 15 spider bites while on a fishing trip.

Susi Feltch-Malohifo’ou is believed to have been bitten by one or more spiders – the species of which is unknown – while on a fishing trip to Mirror Lake in the Uinta Mountains, although she did not not noticed at the time, Fox13 Tampa Bay Reports.

She started feeling unwell in the following days, but tested negative for COVID and the flu.

“When she woke up Sunday morning she had a headache, a fever and was in a bit of pain,” her son, Adrian Swensen, told FOX TV stations. “These symptoms progressed to the point that we decided she needed to see her doctor.”

Image of a brown recluse spider. Susi Feltch-Malohifo’ou was bitten by an unconfirmed species of spider and now has a flesh-eating bacterial infection, commonly seen in brown recluse bites.
iStock/Getty Images Plus

Swensen said doctors found 15 spider bites on her mother, seven of which became extremely infected with a species of flesh-eating bacteria.

Feltch-Malohifo’ou is thought to have necrotizing fasciitis, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is a flesh-destroying disease caused by a number of types of bacteria, with group A strep being the most common cause. frequent. It can enter the body through spider bites, especially from a brown recluse, as well as through cuts or burns.

The bacterial infection, which can also contain a cocktail of other species including Clostridium and Pseudomonas, rots the soft tissue below the surface of the skin, including fat, connective tissue and muscle. The infection can occur in any part of the body, depending on the position of factors such as insect bites, but it is most common on the perineum, genitals and extremities.

If left untreated, necrotizing fasciitis can lead to sepsis and organ failure. If the antibiotics can’t reach all of the infected tissue, surgery may be needed to remove it.

Feltch-Malohifo’ou’s infections got so bad that she had to have 10 pounds of flesh surgically removed. His stomach and colon are also damaged by the infection, doctors told the family.

“[She has] was taken to emergency surgery six times and kept on a ventilator in intensive care,” her family said in a post on the GoFundMe page they set up to raise money to cover her medical bills. treatment.” Every time they take she’s made it, and we think she’s on the mend, they tell us she has to go back to surgery, which means she’s going back on the ventilator .”

So far, they’ve only raised $6,413 of their $15,000 goal.

Feltch-Malohifo’ou, the founder and CEO of Pacific Island Knowledge 2Action Resources (PIK2AR), which works with Pacific Islanders and other minorities, was included in Forbes magazine‘s 50 Over 50 for his work.

There are about 1,000 cases of necrotizing fasciitis a year in the United States, and despite strong antibiotics and skilled treatments, it’s estimated that between 25 and 35 percent of people with the disease don’t survive.

“We’re told if they can stabilize her and through all the moving and cleaning, she’ll have a very long road to recovery,” Swensen told FOX television stations. “We are people of faith and we constantly pray that she will be healed and in due course.”

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