A Georgia model had to have her leg amputated after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria while vacationing in the Bahamas.
Jennifer Barlow was in the Bahamas when she got a small cut on her leg from shaving. She then went swimming in the ocean, where a flesh-eating bacteria entered the cut.
“My knee started ballooning up and was really red and hot to touch and hurting so bad I could barely walk,” Barlow explained.
Barlow spent months in the hospital as doctors tried to save her leg but the decision was made to amputate it.
“I hated that I lost my leg and I’m grieving over that now but it was the best decision to make. I couldn’t walk on my leg,” Barlow says.
A GoFundMe has been created to Barlow’s friends and family to aid Barlow with medical expenses, prosthetic limb costs and rehabilitation.
Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt Medical Center, tells Inside Edition, “These are rare, but when they occur they’re ferocious infections.”
So far in 2023, 12 Americans have died after contracting the flesh-eating bacteria. A spike in cases has been seen this year due to the increasing temperature in oceans and rivers.
The flesh-eating bacteria live in ocean waters and can enter a cut or graze then travel through the bloodstream of the person they infect.
Officials are warning beachgoers to avoid the ocean water if they have even the slightest cut to avoid possible infection.
Barlow is now waiting to be fitted for a prosthetic leg and hopes to continue her modeling career in the future “There is beauty in everything and honesty, my disability now has just made me stronger as a person,” Barlow stated.