Albany woman survives flesh eating bacteria

Published: May. 13, 2012 at 9:39 PM EDT|Updated: May. 16, 2012 at 9:39 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

A North Georgia woman has been receiving worldwide attention after a rare flesh-eating bacteria claimed her leg and is now threatening her life.

We've been keeping you updated on 24 year-old Aimee Copeland who developed the infection after an accident on a homemade zip line.

An Albany woman who contracted that same infection 6 months ago battled the disease and won.

Elizabeth Marler isn't phased by the scar on her left hand and arm, or that her hand is not fully functional.

"He had to cut that all out and that is why I have this big scar, but who cares, I've got my life," says Elizabeth Marler.

Back in October, Marler contracted a very rare but serious flesh eating bacteria that destroys human tissue.

"He told them that is was the necro fasciitis and that it had gone all the way up to my arm," says Marler.

You can get necrotizing fasciitis when bacteria enters a wound, such as an insect bite, a burn, or a cut. Marler was bitten by her cat which caused the opening for the bacteria to enter.

"She came down and put her teeth into my hand, and I popped her and that's what opened the place," says Marler.

Her hand blew up and she was rushed into surgery four days later. Your risk of getting this infection is higher if you have a weak immune system, like Marler, who has a blood disorder called Milo fibrosis.

"I am just lucky that I have my hand and my arm, and I have read that 1 out of 4 people that get this necro fasciitis, dies, it travels that fast," says Marler.

Early treatment of necrotizing fasciitis is critical. The sooner treatment begins, the more likely you will recover from the infection and avoid serious complications, such as limb amputation or death.

"I just want people to be more aware of bacteria and to know that this is out there," says Marler.

She hopes her success story helps inform people about this rare but deadly bacteria.

Reports show that Aimee Copeland will now lose her fingers and possibly her other foot. Copeland remains in critical condition at a Burn Center in Augusta.

Copyright 2012 WALB.  All rights reserved.