‘Treat it right then, don’t just wait’: South GA parents issue warning after 11-month-old daughter contracts flesh-eating bacteria

South GA parents issue warning after 11-month-old daughter contracts flesh-eating bacteria

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - An Albany woman is sending a warning to all parents after her baby contracted a flesh-eating infection.

The rare infection almost took the baby’s life just nine months ago.

WALB News 10′s Asia Wilson spoke with the family who is recovering and has a message for the community.

Cheeks family in Albany, GA
Cheeks family in Albany, GA (Source: WALB)

Carlye Cheeks is a happy baby, with a huge smile, giving joy and happiness to those around her.

But months ago, her whole life changed as it took a turn for the worst.

“The doctor said she’s a very sick baby. She went into shock,” said Elisia Cheeks, Carlye’s mother.

During Hurricane Michael, Elisia and her husband, Carl Cheeks, said their baby encountered a rare disease out of nowhere.

It was brought to her parent’s attention when their baby’s mood began to change and her legs started to swell.

“When we got her from her grandmother’s house, her leg was swollen and it was cold,” said Elisia.“She had Streptococcus Group A and it created necrotizing fasciitis.”

The fleshing eating bacteria took over Carlye’s body when she was just 11-months-old.

Immediately, she was flown to a hospital in Macon as the bacteria began eating away at the tissues and muscles in her right leg and foot.

“Just telling us she’s a very sick baby did something to me. I was... dying inside myself,” said Elisia.

The Georgia Department of Public Health said it’s rare but can be deadly. Officials said that if it happens, it’s contracted through things like cuts, burns and open wounds.

Carlye’s parents thought that was odd because this wasn’t the case for their daughter.

“It wasn’t nothing on her body,” said Elisia.

“It’s one of those things in life that just happened, where us as parents couldn’t do anything about it,”said Carl.

At one point, doctors told them Carlye’s leg may have to be removed, or even worse, could result in death.

“She was just an unlucky baby that got it and they never seen anything like it before,” said Elisia.

Although the cause of her infection is unknown, the Cheeks family has a warning for all parents.

“If they see a wound or anything on them, they can treat it right then. Don’t just wait,” said Elisia.

Luckily, after 13 surgeries and three hospital stays, the family is calling now 1-year-old Carlye, a walking miracle.

“My baby, she don’t even suppose to be here right now, but by the grace of God, she here,” said Elisia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said anyone can get the infection, there’s no specific group more at risk than others.

If you do get it, officials said you should act quickly and get medical attention.

Early signs of the infection are a red, swollen area of the skin that spreads quickly, severe pain and a fever.

Later on, you’ll see ulcers, blisters or black spots on the skin.

Other symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, diarrhea and nausea.

If you notice any changes in the color of the skin or pus from the infected area, you should see a doctor right away.

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