Woman Fighting For Her Life After 15 Spider Bites Cause Flesh-Eating Bacteria Infection
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A flesh-eating bacteria has a woman hospitalized in Salt Lake City after a spider bit her 15 times while on a fishing trip in the Uinta mountains.

While spending time with family and friends at Mirror Lake, located in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Susi Feltch-Malohifo’ou woke up last week in pain with a headache and fever until the symptoms worsened to the point of needing medical assistance.

Doctors sent Feltch-Malohifo’ou home after she received two shots and was prescribed medicine, but she returned to the emergency room after the pain became unbearable.

“She is very sick,” Adrian Swensen, her son, told Fox Television Stations.

Doctors told Swensen that a spider bit his mother 15 times and determined seven of those had become extremely infected with a flesh-eating bacteria and was suffering from a condition known as necrotizing fasciitis, which develops after a spider bite, usually from a brown recluse, becomes infected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the bacterial infection spreads quickly through the body and could lead to death.

CDC officials say early symptoms include red, warm, swollen areas on the skin, severe pain even beyond the impacted area, and fever, which can often confuse victims. Later symptoms could evolve into ulcers, blisters, or black spots on the skin.

Once doctors identify the infection, antibiotics and surgery usually become their first line of defense to prevent the rapid spread from killing too much tissue and reducing blood flow.

Feltch-Malohifo’ou’s doctors reportedly have removed 10 pounds of infected tissue, and continue to treat the infections and extract any dead tissue. The bacterial infection has damaged her stomach and colon.

“We are told that if they can get her stable and through all of the removal and cleaning, she will have a very long road of recovery,” Swensen said.

Feltch-Malohifo’ou shared an update on her Facebook from the hospital bed last week, saying she’s heading back to the operating room and expressing gratitude for her son’s help.

Feltch-Malohifo’ou co-founded Pacific Island Knowledge 2Action Resources, a nonprofit that provides resources for the Pacific Islander community and others. The Federal Bureau of Investigation awarded her “Nonprofit Leader of the Year” in 2018. Forbes Magazine also included her in the “50 Most Impactful Women in the Country Over the Age of 50” list.

“We are people of faith and are in constant prayer that she will be healed and in a timely manner,” Swensen said. “What Susi needs most right now is your prayers and best wishes.”

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