Kylei Parker scraped her big toe on a skateboard in Indiana, where she lives. It wasn't a big deal, but it hadn't healed when she waded into the ocean a few days later near Destin, Florida, while on vacation. That began a close call for the 12-year-old: an encounter with flesh-eating bacteria that she survived without losing any limbs. The disease kills 1 in 3 people who develop it, per the Indianapolis Star. Before Kylei was out of the woods—and out of intensive care—she developed a swollen leg, became unable to walk, and began to go into septic shock. Her temperature went from 99.9 degrees to 103 in a half-hour. Her mother wants people to be aware of the rare and dangerous disease. "I feel very fortunate and lucky that she survived for one and that she didn’t have to have anything amputated," Michelle Brown said.
Back home, her mother rushed Kylei to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, where an MRI showed indications that tissue was beginning to die. She was rushed into surgery to try to stop the spread of the infection. "She’s very lucky,” said Dr. Kamal Abulebda, a pediatrician at Riley who's seen patients die of the disease. Using its actual name, he said, "I suspect the necrotizing fasciitis had developed over the last few hours before she came to us and we caught it in time." After a week in the hospital, Kylei is home, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, with an IV in her arm to deliver antibiotics, and will undergo therapy to help her walk again. (Read more flesh-eating bacteria stories.)