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Young Girl Loses Leg From Rare ‘Flesh Eating’ Infection After Strep Throat

Apr 06, 2017 01:15 PM EDT

Strep throat is a straight-forward type of sore throat that's very common in children. However, complications can occur. Six-year-old Tessa Puma experienced rare complications from her bout from strep throat, resulting in an amputated leg.

According to a report from the Akron Beacon Journal, Tessa suffered from necrotizing fasciiti -- also known as flesh eating bacteria -- which is a condition that's very rare with only one per one million incidents in children every year.

Akron Children's Hospital pediatric critical care medicine specialist Dr. Jim Besunder explained that the infection is found in the fascia, which is the connective tissue separating skin from fat. It's notoriously difficult to detect and can progress down to the muscle, destroying it.

This is what happened to Tessa with the bacteria damaging most of the muscles and tissues in her left leg, specifically the part below the knee. Doctors were forced to amputate the leg, although the bacteria was able to get into her bloodstream and other parts of her body such as her left arm, shoulder and back.

Tessa was diagnosed with strep throat and was given antibiotics for it, a report from ABC News said. However, she came down with a flu last week and began experiencing pain in her arms and legs. It took trips to two different hospitals before doctors diagnosed the patient with the dangerous -- and sometimes fatal -- flesh eating bacteria.

Matt Puma, her father, said that his daughter spent a few days in the hospital as her leg got progressively worse. It got to a point when Tessa would scream in pain just by being touched. Doctors told the family that the best choice is to amputate her leg, parts of which had too much dead tissue.

Tessa is currently recuperating in Akron Children's Hospital. Further surgery is necessary as well as the removal of other parts of her left leg. She would also need extensive therapy, but her father described her as a good-hearted and determined child who's likely to bounce back from this setback.

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