A Texas mom is fighting to regain her sight after a bacterial infection left her with an irreparably damaged cornea. Brittany Williams, a 23 year old mom from Dallas, Texas was participating in a mud run event last month when she was exposed to a flesh-eating disease that caused her to go blind in one eye within 24 hours.
Williams had a small cut in her eye before participating in the race. She stated that approximately an hour after finishing, she began to feel like there was debris stuck in her left eye. That slight, agitated feeling quickly worsened and before Williams knew it, all she could see was white in that eye.
Doctors in the emergency room told Williams that she had multiple abrasions on her cornea and what looked like chemical burns. Things again took a turn for the worse and Williams found herself hospitalized within 24-hours. At this point it was determined that her cornea had completely melted off of her eye.
“I woke up and my eye was white and you couldn’t see out of it,” Williams recalled. “The whole room was white,” Williams told CBS. According to the medical report, debris may have cut her eye allowing the flesh-eating bacteria to destroy her cornea. “It just completely melted off my eye,” Williams said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flesh-eating bacteria (necrotizing fasciitis) is a bacterial skin infection that enters the body through a wound such as a cut, scrape or bite. Once the bacteria gets into the bloodstream, it spreads quickly and can destroy skin, fat and tissue around muscles. Such harmful effects can be caused by a number of bacteria including E.coli and Staphylococcus. It usually impacts people with a weakened immune system, although otherwise healthy individuals can develop infections, too.
This isn’t the first case of flesh-eating bacteria that has caused harm to someone in the past few weeks. It was revealed that a woman in Georgia being treated for flesh-eating bacteria slipped into a coma for 11 days. A Florida man contracted flesh-eating bacteria while fishing, which landed him in the hospital. Florida has also warned of the dangers of a rarer type of flesh-eating bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, which thrives in warm water.
On the other hand, bacteria run rampant at mud races. A 2012 CDC report showed that 22 people contracted a diarrheal illness in October of that year, likely due to the accidental ingestion of contaminated water during an extreme obstacle course, held in Nevada. The water in question most likely contained animal feces, causing the sickness.
In France, during a Mud Day Race in June, 30 runners out of about 8,000 became violently ill with gastroenteritis. This sickness most likely came from mud contaminated with bacteria.
Reference: CBSNews, CDC