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Michigan Man Scrapes Knee, Dies From Virulent Bacteria Infection

June 10, 1994|From Reuters

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A 33-year-old man died Thursday from a mysterious bacteria that has been linked to nearly a dozen deaths in Britain this year.

Doctors said Gary Meadows of Ypsilanti, Mich., became infected with the so-called flesh-eating bacteria Saturday when he fell off his bicycle and scraped his knee. By Monday, his thigh was swollen and he complained of nausea and dehydration.

Dr. Lloyd Jacobs of the Veterans Affairs Department hospital in Ann Arbor said Meadows was diagnosed with having group A streptococcus and was treated with penicillin. However, the fast-moving bacteria already had become too entrenched in his muscles and tissue for the penicillin to be effective.

"The organism itself is very sensitive to penicillin," Jacobs said at a news conference. "However, when the organism gets in places where the penicillin cannot get to it, then it becomes extremely difficult to control."

Meadows was the second person linked to the disease to die in Michigan in less than a month.

Meanwhile, in Salinas, Calif., a 27-year-old man infected with the bacteria is being treated at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital. A spokesperson said the unidentified man had been hospitalized there since May 26 "for treatment of an infection that was killing the flesh of his right leg."

The hospital said the man's condition had been diagnosed as an infection of a spider bite or cut with group A streptococcus bacteria.

"The patient was initially very ill, but has been treated aggressively with antibiotics and surgery. He is now improving," a hospital statement reported.

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