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Alaska Beat

Alaskan with flesh-eating infection released from Seattle hospital

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published August 3, 2012

Ruben Pereyra, victim of Juneau, Alaska's, first documented case of the "flesh-eating" bacteria, has left the hospital, according to the Juneau Empire. Although Pereyra is going home, his fight is not over yet.

Back in June, Pereyra was handling a bookshelf when a sliver imbedded itself in his hand. Quickly, the area became infected, and after a few days Pereyra could no longer move his arm.

He and his wife, Ana, went to Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau seeking treatment, but what started out as a regular trip to the emergency room ended in Pereyra's immediate medical evacuation to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. Due to the gruesome flesh-eating bacterial infection, Pereyra has spent the last 90 days in rehabilitation while doctors fought to keep the infection from spreading to the rest of his body.

According to the Juneau Empire, Pereyra's arm has been spared, but:

He may still lose three fingers that have been heavily damaged by the loss of skin, muscle and tendon, but he’s holding out hope that his thumb and index finger, which are in better shape, can be saved.

Necrotizing fasciitis, dubbed the "flesh-eating disease" is not uncommon. The bacterium that causes it is naturally occurring and can enter the body through cuts, slivers, insect bites or any kind of break in the skin. Although extreme cases of infection like Pereyra's are rare, they have been showing up in the news more frequently over the last year.

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