California woman ravaged by flesh-eating bacteria, losing almost all the muscle and skin on her foot

A California mother-of-one lost almost all the muscle and skin on her left foot after contracting flesh-eating bacteria – but she has no idea how she became infected.

Noelle Guastucci, of San Diego, says she did not have any cuts or grazes on her foot, and she hadn’t been in water, where most people catch the often deadly bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis. 

But on July 4, seemingly out of nowhere, her foot started turning red and swelling, she told Fox 5.

It was only a matter of minutes before her the swelling started to consume her toes – and the pain was unbearable. 

‘The pain was so excruciating. On a scale from one to 10, it was an 11. It felt like someone had poured acid on my foot,’ Guastucci said. 

Noelle Guastucci, of San Diego, says she did not have any cuts or grazes on her foot, and she hadn't been in water, where most people catch the often deadly bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis

Noelle Guastucci, of San Diego, says she did not have any cuts or grazes on her foot, and she hadn’t been in water, where most people catch the often deadly bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis

'Her doctor said that she would have passed away in another twelve hours or so if she hadn't had the immediate surgery when she did,' relatives said

‘Her doctor said that she would have passed away in another twelve hours or so if she hadn’t had the immediate surgery when she did,’ relatives said

A team of 14 doctors at Kaiser Permanente operated on Guastucci to chase the fast-moving bacteria that was ravaging her tissue, and threatening to spread up her leg. 

Over 12 days, they continued their efforts with antibiotics.  

Thankfully, they managed to contain it, saving Guastucci from the fate that befalls a third to half of sufferers: amputations or death. 

According to relatives, who have launched a GoFundMe to support Guastucci: ‘Her doctor said that she would have passed away in another twelve hours or so if she hadn’t had the immediate surgery when she did.’

The mystery of her case makes it one of the more alarming as rates of people contracting flesh-eating bacteria rise. 

According to relatives, Guastucci was able to return home last night for her birthday, and to spend time with her five-year-old daughter, Grace, who has Down syndrome and requires constant care - one of the reasons for the GoFundMe

According to relatives, Guastucci was able to return home last night for her birthday, and to spend time with her five-year-old daughter, Grace, who has Down syndrome and requires constant care – one of the reasons for the GoFundMe

Necrotizing fasciitis is a fast-moving type of bacteria that ravages soft tissue

Necrotizing fasciitis is a fast-moving type of bacteria that ravages soft tissue

‘I retraced my steps and it’s still a mystery to the origin,’ she explains. 

Necrotizing fasciitis enters the body through cuts or burns, and very often in fresh water, which is a hospitable environment for this type of bacteria.  

There is a chance Guastucci’s case was linked to a strep infection, but doctors are still unsure.

According to relatives, Guastucci was able to return home last night for her birthday, and to spend time with her five-year-old daughter, Grace, who has Down syndrome and requires constant care – one of the reasons for the GoFundMe. 

‘Grace is a Special Needs child, it’s costly to find caregivers with the necessary skills to help with Grace,’ they wrote. 

‘Noelle has also lost all income, as she is self-employed and not able to work at this time. Any contribution you can make will be greatly appreciated and go directly to help Noelle during her time of need. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers and any donation possible.’

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