Local warns of flesh eating bug

LONG-TERM Gladstone resident Maureen Lewis wants people to be aware that a rare bug is around the town.

The 78-year-old has been in hospital for the past three weeks with vibrio cholerae on the shin of her left leg.

She was told if she had not gone to see her general practitioner Dr Stephen Rigby when she did, she could have lost her leg.

Mrs Lewis said she had been laid up at home for six weeks prior to this medical problem, after receiving a skin graft on her right shin.

She said she, nor the medical professionals, know how she got vibrio cholerae, which is transmitted through contaminated water and shellfish.

“The only thing I can put it down to is I have very scaly skin so maybe I scratched off the skin,” Mrs Lewis said.

“The night that it happened, it just came up in a great big blister at about 11.30pm.”

She said she went straight to the doctors the next morning.

“It was scary,” Mrs Lewis said.

“He put me straight in hospital.

“The doctor said if it was left any longer than 47 hours, I could have lost my leg.

 “I had all of these blisters.”

She said she vomited and had a high fever and the blisters were very painful.

Mrs Lewis said the blisters were spread up her leg about 1.5 inches and around the leg a couple of inches to start with and there was one blister that turned black.

“There was a piece of dead skin that had to be taken off and swabbed,” she said.

“It did go higher up the leg,” she said.

Mrs Lewis spent two weeks continuously on a drip and is now down to being on the drip every six hours.

“I’m on the mend, thank goodness, and thanks to my doctor and the nursing staff (at the Mater Hospital).

Mrs Lewis was unable to talk to The Observer in the first few weeks due to the high fever and medication, but wanted to get the warning out to the public, particularly with it being school holidays.

She hopes to be going home on Monday, but will be continue treatment for months until the leg is healed.

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