CNN LINK: So I had to embark upon understanding this flesh eating necrotizing fasciitis causing bacteria that has the life of Aimee Copeland on hold and on a ventilator in a hospital in Augusta, GA. Only 24 years old, Aimee fell from a zip line and had a gash in her leg that was stitched up only to return to an ER a few days later with a bigger issue. Necrotizing fasciitis.
Aeromonas hydrophila is a heterotrophic, Gram-negative, rod shaped bacterium, mainly found in areas with a warm climate. This bacterium can also be found in fresh, salt, marine, estuarine, chlorinated, and un-chlorinated water. Aeromonas hydrophila can survive inaerobic and anaerobic environments. This bacterium can digest materials such as gelatin, and hemoglobin. Aeromonas hydrophila was isolated from humans and animals in the 1950s. This bacterium is the most well known of the six species of Aeromonas. It is also highly resistant to multiple medications, chlorine, and cold temperatures.
Because of Aeromonas hydrophila’s structure, it is very toxic to many organisms. When it enters the body of its victim, it travels through the bloodstream to the first available organ. It produces Aerolysin Cytotoxic Enterotoxin (ACT), a toxin that can cause tissue damage.
Most of the time, this organism causes gastroenteritis.
Aeromonas is usually found in freshwater and marine environments; it is most prominent in the Northern Hemisphere during the warmer months. The skin of the lower extremities is the most common site of infection, usually after traumatic exposure to contaminated water or soil. Aeromonas infection and cellulitis often develop within 8 to 48 hours of exposure, and systemic signs are common. Manifestations may include hemorrhagic bullae, subcutaneous bleeding, and purpura.
Aeromonas is typically highly susceptible to penicillins combined with β-lactamase inhibitors, second- and third-generation cephalosporins, aminoglycosides, and fluoroquinolones.
When patients do not respond to antibiotics for presumed common cellulitis, it may be prudent to obtain further imaging such as CT or MRI of the affected limb to rule out soft tissue collections, soft tissue emphysema, and necrotizing fasciitis. Surgical debridement may be indicated for deep soft tissue infection, necrosis, and purulent collections that are inadequately draining.
I do hope Aimee makes a full recovery. You can follow here progress here.