Ohio Girl Loses Leg From Strep Throat Which Led To Serious Infection

April 6, 2017
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A 6-year-old girl from Ohio is recovering after a rare complication from strep throat which led to a dangerous infection and eventually required the amputation of one of her legs.

Tessa Puma was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, which is an infection by what is commonly called flesh-eating bacteria which can spread quickly in the body. Her Dad, Matt Puma, said that Doctors believe the dangerous infection was caused by bacteria from her strep throat.

Earlier, Tessa was diagnosed with strep throat and took antibiotics. But when she was struck with the flu last week, she complained about pain in her arms and legs. Her parents took her to two hospitals before doctors diagnosed an additional problem: necrotizing fasciitis.

They did some more tests and confirmed she had the flu and saw she had some kind of infection,” Puma said. “She spent a couple of days in the hospital, and her leg got worse and worse.

At one point, simply touching her made her scream in pain. Doctors performed surgery to relieve swelling and found extensive damage in her left leg and also in parts of her shoulder and back.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that Necrotizing fasciitis can occur after bacteria from a strep or other bacterial infection travels to the bloodstream and infects the fasciae, or membranes surrounding muscles and other internal organs.The infection can kill tissue as it spreads, which causes serious complications which can require amputation or even result in death.

In Tessa’s case, the Doctors believe the strep bacteria migrated to her bloodstream, which caused the dangerous infection. When doctors could no longer find a pulse in her leg, they determined she likely had too much dead tissue. In order to help her heal, they amputated her left leg from the knee down.

Puma said the doctors told him, “If there was any kind of hope for her to live and survive, it’s going to be best to amputate her leg.”

Tessa is recovering at Akron Children’s Hospital, she will, however, need further surgery and additional portions of her left leg removed to help her survive. Her father said that she has a strong will and that he believes she will eventually return to what she loves: dancing.

She’s very good-hearted,” Puma told ABC News. “Whenever she puts her mind to something, she’s very determined. This isn’t going to set her back to her goals.”

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