A California man died of a flesh-eating disease after his dog was chased into a pond.
Jeff Bova, 41, sustained a small cut on his right arm when he waded through still waters in San Diego last month.
The wound is believed to have been infected with bacteria that cause necrotizing fasciitis, a fatal condition that causes the body’s soft tissues to rot.
What started as a small red spot quickly developed into swelling, blisters, and droplets that felt like ‘acid’ when they went down his arm.
Jeff Bova, 41, of San Diego, died after contracting flesh-eating bacteria. He grabbed her from a stagnant puddle
His mum, Susan McIntyre, 67, pictured above, said it was “difficult” and that “it all happened so fast.”
The handyman tried to treat the infection at home with antibiotic cream and lotions.
Mr. Bova became infected after chasing his dog into a pond (pictured above with a pet dog)
But eventually the pain became so severe that he went to the hospital, where he died two days later.
His mother tells his story to get others to seek medical care when they are infected and to avoid pools of stagnant water.
He was killed by necrotizing fasciitis, said Susan McIntyre, 67, of El Cajon, Calif.
“He got these really bad blisters and he said he felt … when his arm was bleeding that the acid was running down his arm,” she told NBC News.
Speaking of the impact of his death, she said, fighting back tears: ‘It’s hard… everything happened so quickly.
Just before he died, he told me that he still had work to finish for me. It was within two days of finishing it.
Necrotizing fasciitis is usually caused by bacteria like Strep A, which can multiply while in pools of standing water.
The condition develops when bacteria enter the body, often through a minor cut or scrape.
As they multiply, they release toxins that start killing the surrounding tissues.
The bacteria will quickly spread through the body, causing symptoms that include bumps on the skin, bruising, sweating, fever, and nausea. This could result in device failure and shock.
Those infected must be treated immediately to prevent death, and are usually given strong antibiotics and surgery to remove dead tissue.
Amputation may become necessary if the disease has spread through an arm or leg.
Medics say the cell death caused by necrosis is irreversible.
There are about 1,000 cases of necrotizing fasciitis in the United States each year.
The flesh-eating bacteria is fatal in about 20 percent of cases, with chances of survival dropping the longer a person puts off treatment.
A number of standing water puddles have appeared in San Diego recently amidst heavy rain.
Ms McIntyre urged others to avoid swimming pools, saying: “Stay away from standing water, especially after it rains, because there is a lot of bacteria in it.”
“If you get any kind of wound and it starts to turn red, get to the doctor right away — don’t wait.”
Necrotizing necrotizing: Harmful bacteria that feed on food
The photo above shows a leg with necrotizing fasciitis
Necrotizing fasciitis, more commonly known as “flesh-eating disease,” is a rare but very serious bacterial infection. The term “necrosis” refers to something that causes the body’s tissues to die, and the infection can destroy skin, muscle, and fat.
The disease develops when bacteria enter the body, often through a minor cut or scratch. As the bacteria multiply, they release toxins that kill tissue and cut off blood flow to the area.
Because it is so virulent, the bacteria spread rapidly throughout the body.
Symptoms include small red lumps or bumps on the skin, rapidly spreading bruising, sweating, chills, fever, and nausea. Also common complications are organ failure and shock.
Those infected must be treated immediately to prevent death, and are usually given strong antibiotics and surgery to remove dead tissue. Amputation may become necessary if the disease has spread through an arm or leg.
Patients may undergo skin grafting after the infection has cleared, to aid the healing process or for aesthetic reasons.
There are 500 to 1,500 reported cases annually, but 20 to 25 percent of victims die.
Necrosis is an irreversible process in which body tissues die as a result of reduced blood flow