Young vacationer infects with bone-eating bacteria at the fish spa
This holiday will probably not forget the young Thailand travelers their entire life. Unfortunately, this is not due to the beautiful weather and the enchanting scenario, but the bone-eating germ, which she caught there in a fish pedicure. The Shewanella putrefaciens bacteria remained in their foot for two years before doctors found the water bacillus. But it was too late – all five toes had to be amputated.
29-year-old Victoria Curthoys from Perth, Australia, is reported in several English media. In 2010 she made a trip to Thailand. There she used the spa offer "Fish Spa", which is widely used in Thailand. With this fish pedicure you keep your feet in an aquarium full of freshwater fish, which then immediately begin to eat dander from the feet. There she went, according to English media reports, the bone-eating Shewanella bacteria, which gradually consumed their toes.
In a Thai fish pedicure, a young Australian woman became infected in 2010 with bone-eating Shewanella bacteria. Over the next seven years, she gradually lost all toes on her right foot. Now she is afraid to lose her leg as well. (Image: Romolo Tavani / fotolia.com)
It all started with a piece of broken glass
The disaster began at the age of 17 years. The Australian stepped into a shard and contracted a wound infection on the big toe. This then had to be amputated in half. When she went to Thailand a few years later, she retreated to the fish-pedicure for an infection on the same toe.
It looked very clean
"I did not think anything of that because I watched the owner set up the system and it looked very clean," says Victoria Curthoys to English magazine "The Sun". The germ has probably invaded the former surgical wound. A short time later she had to fight again and again with fever diseases. Doctors were initially unable to determine a cause.
Two years of helplessness
Until 2012, the doctors Victoria Curthoys could not help. Meanwhile, the bacteria had eaten the entire remaining bone of the big toe ready. The doctors were forced to amputate the entire toe. "When they realized what it was, my entire toe bone had eaten away and I had suffered from illness all the time," said Curthoys.
After the amputation, relief was introduced. "I was relieved that I could return to my life without being sick all the time," says the Australian about her ordeal. But the bacterium had already attacked the next toe unnoticed. One year after the amputation, ulcers suddenly appeared on the second toe, after which the latter had to be amputated.
Gradually, she lost all her toes
In 2016, Victoria Curthoys again had problems with her foot. A podiatrist found in a blood test again bone infections. In November 2016 she lost her third and fourth toe. The small toe, the surgeons for the time being. "Last year, I noticed some fluid in my sock, but I could not see any cuts," says Curthoys. After further blood tests and radiographs, a new bone infection was discovered, so that in November 2017, the last toe was removed.
Now she is afraid to lose her leg
Now, every day, Victoria Curthoys examines her entire right leg for bruises, fearing that the Shewanella bacteria may still be in her body. On her Instagram profile, the self-assured Australian posted pictures of her suffering history and wants to protect people from such a fate.
About Shewanella bacteria
Shewanella bacteria are most commonly found in fresh, salt or wastewater. In humans, they rarely cause infections. In the human body they can get over abscesses, existing wounds or the digestive tract. According to the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 16 cases of Shewanella infection have been documented in humans, two of which have been fatal. As a rule, the bacteria can be treated with antibiotics, but some strains are resistant. (Vb)