A 12-year-old girl who was infected with an often deadly flesh-eating bacteria is walking again, just weeks after contracting it while wading in the ocean on a family vacation.
Kylei Parker knew something was wrong a few days after the Indiana clan arrived in Florida. Her leg hurt and she was running a fever.
When the family got home, her mother took her to the doctor after her temperature spiked at 104.5 degrees. The physician sent them straight to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, a fast-moving, flesh-eating disease that could have killed her, doctors said.
One in three people who contract the bacteria die from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"They were taking her into emergency surgery, trying to remove the infection from her leg," mom Michelle Brown told WKRG-TV.
Kylei and her family said the waterborne disease entered her bloodstream through a scrape from a stubbed toe.
Two weeks entering Indiana University Health hospital, the girl is walking on her own, and traveling a road to recovery that will include weeks of physical therapy.
"She's rocked this recovery thing so far," her mom said. "We weren't expecting her to be able to walk for a few months, we haven't even started therapy yet and she's already been working on it at home and she's made huge progress at home. She has determination, she's a go-getter for sure."
The mother is speaking out, she said, to warn others what can happen during something as seemingly mundane as a family vacation.
"We're just trying to help raise awareness because it has been such a huge impact. It can be life or death. We're just trying to help raise awareness of that," she said.