Carol Martin and her husband Richard went to Florida in February for their annual vacation, and stayed at a local Days Inn, local news outlet WFLA reports. Richard says that Carol spent some time in the hotel hot tub and, when they got back home, Carol noticed she had a sore on her butt.
"She had like a pimple come up on her right butt cheek. She said it was kind of painful," Richard told WFLA. Carol went to the doctor twice and was given several antibiotics, but the sore kept growing. "They finally decided to do a biopsy of the area after the third trip,” he said.
That’s when doctors discovered that Carol had necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease.
"In the emergency room they said 'we are sorry but she has a flesh-eating bacteria, we have to rush her to surgery right now,'" Richard told local news outlet WRTV.
Once she was diagnosed, Carol was rushed into surgery and spent 16 days in the ICU. She was released from the hospital, but days later she died at home.
According to WRTV, the Marion County Coroner is reportedly collecting tissue samples to determine whether the infection played a cause in Carol's death.
Richard says he isn’t totally sure where his wife contracted necrotizing fasciitis, but he suspects the hotel hot tub. "My thing is nobody else got it, the flesh eating bacteria. No one else got it, but she was the only one who got in the hot tub," he said, per WFLA.
The parent company of Days Inn, Wyndham Hotels, did not respond to a request for comment from WFLA.
What is necrotising fasciitis?
Necrotising fasciitis is a serious bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills your body’s soft tissue, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Necrotising fasciitis can be deadly in a short period of time, which is why the CDC says it’s so important to get an accurate diagnosis, treatment with antibiotics, and surgery to stop the infection
Necrotising fasciitis symptoms
People with necrotising fasciitis often have symptoms like pain, soreness, ulcers, blisters, and areas of swelling that spread quickly, as well as fever, chills, fatigue, and vomiting as the illness progresses. Since 2010, up to 1,200 cases have been diagnosed each year in the U.S., the CDC says.
How to prevent necrotising fasciitis
Most cases of necrotising fasciitis occur randomly, and, in general, the infection does not spread from person to person, according to the CDC. People usually get necrotising fasciitis after the bacteria makes its way into your body through a cut, scrape, or open wound, the Mayo Clinic says.
While necrotising fasciitis is rare—your chances of getting it are extremely low if you have a strong immune system and practice good hygiene—those with other health problems that weaken the immune system are more likely to get it than others.
The best way to lower the odds you’ll develop necrotising fasciitis is to clean any wound you get—even a scrape or blister—with soap and water, and to avoid spending time in whirlpools, hot tubs, swimming pools, and fresh water until your wound heals, the CDC says.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US