A woman reportedly contracted a flesh-eating bacteria after putting her feet in water at Myrtle Beach, according to a Facebook post by Marsha Barnes Beal.
Since the incident was reported on Facebook Sunday, the post has gone viral with over 50,000 shares as of 5 p.m. Monday.
However, most of the details have not been confirmed.
Mark Kruea, a spokesman for Myrtle Beach, said he is aware of the post but can’t confirm its validity.
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“We have not had any complaints or reports yet,” Kruea said. A statement was later released on the city’s Facebook page.
“The city has been unable to confirm the location or date of any such incident,” the post said. “At this point, all we have is a Facebook post, with no confirmation. Our ocean water quality is tested twice weekly, with excellent results.”
No reports of the incident were filed in North Myrtle Beach either, added Pat Dowling, city spokesman.
A video in the post shows a woman on a stretcher in a Carolina Air Care helicopter. According to Beal’s post, her mother, Bonita Fetterman, was airlifted Saturday to UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Fetterman was initially treated at Southeastern Hospital in Lumberton, Hospital Spokeswoman Amanda Crabtree said.
Fetterman’s granddaughter told WMBF News while the family was vacationing in Myrtle Beach last week, Fetterman cut her leg on a chair on their hotel’s balcony. The cut was reportedly not serious, so she did not seek medical attention.
Fetterman spent time in the ocean between 23rd and 27th avenues north in the days after she was cut, according to WMBF.
Beal also mentions in the post that Fetterman is currently in the intensive care unit. Hospital workers at UNC Medical Center have confirmed she is in the ICU, but declined to comment on her condition.
Tom Hughes, spokesman for the medical center, said her family requested to not have any information released.
Fetterman will reportedly be undergoing surgery to cut away the bacteria from her leg, Beal’s post says.
Robert Yanity, spokesman for the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, said they cannot comment on the patient because of privacy issues.
“DHEC is aware of the news reports of a potential case of necrotizing fasciitis in the Myrtle Beach area,” Yanity said. “It’s important to note that this type of condition is not necessarily associated with exposure to natural waters like oceans, lakes or rivers or poor water quality.”
It’s important to note that not all cases of necrotizing fasciitis are reportable to DHEC, so we do not have specific data on the number of cases of necrotizing fasciitis.
As to claims that the disease was contracted in Myrtle Beach, Yanity said he is still waiting to hear back from agency water officials as to whether the case was reported, and if water quality testing is being investigated.
Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen said Monday morning that he was still trying to determine where the sickened woman was staying.
Meanwhile, DHEC shared information on the symptoms of those who do contract necrotizing fasciitis — a bacterial skin infection that quickly spreads and can be deadly if not quickly treated.
Symptoms include sore muscles, warm skin with red or purple areas of swelling that spread rapidly, fever, chills and vomiting. Some victims get ulcers or blisters on the skin.
Michaela Broyles, 843-626-0281, @Michaela Broyles; Audrey Hudson 843-444-1765, @AudreyHudson