MANASOTA BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – Leann Thibodeau never thought it would happen to her. After all, she’s been to the beach a million times. She describes it as her favorite place in the world.
A week before the Fourth of July holiday, the Port Charlotte woman decided to try out a new spot. She visited Manasota Beach, just South of Venice, for the first time. She was excited to enjoy time in the water.
She says she thought nothing of a small cut on her foot, the size of a pin-hole. In fact, it had already scabbed over and was healing when she got in the water.
That’s all it took.
That was Saturday. By Tuesday, her foot was red and infected. She even joked with friends that she must have flesh-eating bacteria, never thinking it could actually be true.
By Thursday, July 4th, her foot was so swollen and in so much pain, she couldn’t walk on it. Leann had to go to the hospital and was shocked by the diagnosis from doctors at Bayfront Health Port Charlotte.
She says they told her she had flesh-eating bacteria, also known as necrotizing fasciitis. Leann was told she needed immediate surgery to have part of her left foot removed.
She says she asked the nurse what caused this and was told it was “group A Streptococcus.”
She remains in the hospital and told WFLA-News Channel 8, “I’m with family, and still being in the hospital, I hardly have time to breathe. Thank you for your patience. [There’s been] progress over the past 3 days after surgery. I have my mom coming to visit me in 15 minutes.”
She issued the following warning, in part, on her Facebook page.
“BE CAREFUL MY FRIENDS, I HAD A SCAB ON MY FOOT, DIDN’T THINK ANYTHING OF IT. IT BECAME INFECTED AND SWOLLEN, I JOKED ABOUT IT FOR THREE DAYS, GUESS YOU SHOULDN’T JOKE. SO, WITH THAT BEING SAID, I’M WARNING ALL MY FRIENDS FROM SARASOTA TO PORT CHARLOTTE, BE CAREFUL.”
For a closer look at beach water quality in your area visit the Florida Health Department’s website.