After experiencing pain for what she thought was an ordinary toothache, Madelein Carelse from South Africa, 42, visited a dentist. She was given antibiotics. However, the pain worsened as the days passed. Carelse also started having difficulty breathing and noticed a dark patch under her chin. Her husband decided to take her to the dentist again because he believed that there was something seriously wrong. What they discovered left them shocked.
Unilad, a British internet media company and website, reported that the dentist discovered Carelse was suffering from a flesh-eating disease known as necrotizing fasciitis. Some of the symptoms include vomiting, high fever, severe pain, and red or purple patches of skin commonly on the limbs. This disease can spread rapidly in a person's body and eat their soft tissues. Necrotizing fasciitis is extremely rare. It was reported that in the US, the condition occurs in around 0.4 people per 100,000.
|Flesh eating bacteria victim Madelein Carelse (left) / Photo by: CEN and We Care via The Daily Mail|
In an interview, Carelse’s friend Annemarie van Antwerpen said, “She is very sore. We would like to move her to a private hospital, as we are concerned that the wound appears to be turning septic. We would also like Madelein to undergo reconstructive surgery, which will require a plastic surgeon.”
The doctors at Sebokeng Hospital Vanderbijlpark had to cut away all of the infected tissue to save her life. The operation will stop the disease from infecting her vital organs. After that, she would need plastic surgery to rebuild her face and neck. However, Carelse has no health insurance. According to an article by the Daily Mail, a British daily middle-market newspaper, a fundraising campaign on Facebook called We Care For You Madelein Club was launched by her friends, aiming to help with the costs.
There are also some personalities who support her battle like Mrs. Africa Classic Erika Breytenbach, who recently visited Carelse in the hospital and urged people to contribute to the fundraising campaign.
|The patient showing the bacteria in her neck / Photo by: CEN and We Care via The Daily Mail|