The dramatic story of a Brazilian model, who is fighting for her life following an untreated urinary tract infection, is bringing home the susceptibility even the young have to bacterial infections.
Mariana Bridi da Costa, 20, is in a hospital in Brazilian city of Serra, after undergoing amputation of her hands and feet to control the septicemia, or a blood infection that made her extremities numb.
Last night doctors had to remove part of her stomach and both kidneys have been removed.
Doctors had said she had 24 hours to live, but she appears to be surprising everyone with her will to live.
How can a healthy young woman become so sick?
Less than one month ago the 20-year-old Bridi was aiming her sites at becoming Brazil’s entrant for the Miss World pageant. CNN reports she had recently been selected to compete in a national modeling contest. She had also dreamed of becoming a journalist.
How it happened
Bridi first sought medical care in late December when doctors suspected she had kidney stones. They gave her medicine and sent her home but her conditioned worsened and she returned to the hospital, in the south-eastern Brazilian state of Espiritu Santo, where she was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection.
The infection has been identified as being caused by pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium. But by the time her condition was identified, it had infected her blood.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium is found in soil and water and can occur on the surfaces of plants and animals, and according to the Textbook of Bacteriology, it is becoming increasingly antibiotic resistant in clinics.
The bacterium infects compromised tissues and can cause urinary tract infections, respiratory system infections, dermatitis, soft tissue infections, bone and joint infections, and a variety of systemic infections.
It is particularly dangerous to those with compromised immune systems – patients with cancer, AIDS, the very young or very old.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the occurrence in U.S. hospitals averages about four cases per 1,000 discharged patients. It is the fourth most commonly-isolated pathogen accounting for about 10 percent of all hospital-acquired infections.
It is also implicated in the so-called “hot-tub” rash that following a dip in a poorly cleaned hot tub.
The CDC reports that urinary tract infections are often caused by bacteria from feces, often e Coli.
If you become “septic” your body may be in a state of low blood pressure termed “shock” from fighting the invading bacteria.
Web MD reports that the number of people dying from sepsis has almost doubled in the past 20 years. Some strong medications may weaken be creating weakened immune systems. And the overuse of antibiotics has made many treatments difficult.
Symptoms of sepsis include:
· Fever, chills and shaking
· Rapid beating heart and breathing
· Confusion, disorientation and agitation. Also possibly dizziness and decreased urination
· Some develop a rash with small red dots
· Some develop pain in the joints at the wrist, elbow, back, and hips and knees
A child younger than 60 days with these symptoms, or adults with many of the symptoms should go to the ER immediately.
Blood work may determine if you have a high white blood cell count that shows your body is fighting infection. A blood culture should also be taken and analyzed for bacteria. Lab work may also be done on samples of mucus, urine, spinal fluid.
A patient is usually admitted to the intensive care until the blood work is done. They may receive oxygen and antibiotics by IV, and must be re-cultured to see whether the antibiotic is working. Any infections will have to be drained.
Dr. Charles Clarke told CNN that the worsening of a urinary tract infection to septicemia requiring amputation is “very rare” but urinary tract infections can turn into a blood infection.
Mariana is on life support but can respond by blinking her eyes. Henrique Fontes, executive director of Miss World Brazil says that she wants to live under this critical situation and that she is a very determined person.
Word of her condition has spread through Brazil and her Web site crashed after receiving more than 15,000 hits in two days. #