There are few phrases in the English language that can conger up immediate feelings of disgust and dread like "flesh-eating bacteria." A bacteria that literally eats away your living tissue has been found on the coast of Louisiana, and a New Orleans woman was unlucky enough to find it while fishing in Grand Isle.

The bacteria, vibrio vulnificus, is a very rare single-celled organism that lives in warm, salty or brackish water, and can enter your body through an open wound or if you consume raw oysters. According to WDSU in New Orleans, Kelly Kohen Blomberg's ordeal began after she was bitten by a sea creature.

She contracted the bacteria when she was beach surf fishing on May 12 in the Gulf of Mexico near Grand Isle.

"Whenever I shuffled my foot, it went directly into the mouth of something," she said. "Blood everywhere, and it was not stopping."

She cleaned the wound and went to the hospital the next day and started taking antibiotics.

"A week later, my foot was still huge and I'm starting to have, like, dead tissue around my foot so I'm just worried," she said.

What started out as a couple of superficial scratches became deep, highly infected wounds. It became so serious she had to be taken to a hospital to have surgery to remove the dead tissue. She then had to receive a skin graft to close the gaping wound on her foot.

Dr. Obinna Nnedu, her infectious disease doctor at Ochsner Medical Center, has said that she is lucky. Some people fare much worse, especially those with weak immune systems, high amounts of iron in their body, or liver disease.

These individuals are at very high risk of death when they get infected with this organism. Anyone can get infected, but that subset of people can potentially have very serious outcomes.

WDSU goes on to give a few precautionary steps to avoid getting the disease.

To prevent the water-borne infection, be careful handling fishing hooks and wear protective gear in area waterways. If you do break the skin, clean it immediately with a diluted bleach mixture, and if you have an open wound, consider avoiding salt water altogether.

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