Are There Flesh Eating Bacteria in Swimming Pools?

by | Jul 26, 2019 | Drowning Deaths, Personal Injury |

Are there flesh eating bacteria in swimming pools in Myrtle Beach?

What about brain eating amoebas, “Crypto,” or other parasites? If I get a flesh eating bacteria can I sue? How do I prove it came from the swimming pool?

Below, I’ll discuss whether you can come into contact with flesh eating bacteria in swimming pools, the symptoms of an infection, and other common infections that you get from swimming pools, waterparks, rivers, lakes, or the ocean. I’ll also discuss when you can sue for damages after contracting a preventable infection that was caused by a waterpark or hotel’s negligence.

If you or someone you love has been infected by flesh eating bacteria in swimming pools, call the Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyers at Coastal Law as soon as you are diagnosed to find out whether you have a lawsuit and how we can help.

Are There Flesh Eating Bacteria in Swimming Pools? 

The number of cases of flesh eating bacteria in the United States seems to have exploded in the past few years – at least, media coverage of the bacteria has increased. Every week you can find a new story about someone who contracted the bacteria in a lake, river, swimming pool, or water park somewhere in the country.

A North Augusta woman filed suit this month against a Surfside Beach water park, alleging that a flesh eating bacteria she contracted in their wave pool has resulted in more than $1 million in medical bills alone:

When a wave knocked her over, she alleges she scraped her arm on the bottom of the pool, allowing “one or more such organisms” to invade her body. This resulted in necrotizing fasciitis, which is commonly known as flesh-eating disease, to her right arm, the lawsuit states.

[The victim] states in the suit she has undergone multiple surgeries, permanent disfigurement and ongoing serious pain.

“She’s probably going to be dealing with this for the rest of her life and is certainly going to be disfigured for the rest of her life,” [her attorney] said.

The lawsuit also alleges that there has been a history of safety violations at the water park since 2015. In the summer of 2017, when the victim contracted the bacteria, emails from town officials indicate they were aware of the safety issues but decided to wait until after the summer season to take any action…

What are Flesh Eating Bacteria? 

“Flesh eating bacteria” sounds horrible because it is horrible.

Flesh eating bacteria, which can include group A Streptococcus (group A strep), KlebsiellaClostridiumEscherichia coliStaphylococcus aureus, and Vibrio vulnificus can enter the body through cuts, scrapes, burns, or any break in the skin.

Once they are in the body, they cause necrotizing fasciitis, an extremely painful condition that can result in the loss of limbs and, in many cases, death.

What are the Symptoms of Necrotizing Fasciitis?

How do I know if I have a flesh eating bacteria?

Symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis include:

  • Extreme pain;
  • Crackling sounds or sensations caused by air beneath the wound;
  • Red and swollen areas that spread quickly;
  • Flu-like symptoms;
  • Ulcers, blisters, or black spots on the skin;
  • Pus oozing from the wound; and
  • Confusion or disorientation.

Treatment usually consists of surgery to cut out the dead tissue, and amputation of the affected limbs may be necessary. An estimated 25 to 50% of people who contract flesh eating amoebas die from the infection.

If you have any of the above symptoms after swimming in a pool, water park, river, or other body of water, get medical attention immediately – the faster you see a medical professional, the more likely you will survive the infection.

What Other Types of Infections Come from Swimming Pools?

Flesh eating bacteria in swimming pools and water parks are not the only danger – infections that swimmers can contract from poorly maintained swimming pools include:

  • Brain eating amoebas that enter your body through the sinus cavity;
  • Crypto infections (Cryptosporidiosis) that result in diarrhea, cramps, and vomiting; and
  • Other infections caused by the presence of urine or fecal matter in swimming pools.

Can I Sue if I am Infected by Flesh Eating Bacteria in a Swimming Pool? 

If someone is injured or killed by flesh eating bacteria in swimming pools, Crypto, a brain eating amoeba, or other infection that was caused by a water park or property owner’s negligence, you can sue for damages.

When the infection is contracted in a river, lake, or ocean water, however, there may not be any recourse for the damage that is done.

How Do I Prove that the Flesh Eating Bacteria Came from a Swimming Pool?

When an infection is caused by swimming in a pool or water park, how do you prove that the property owner is responsible?

It’s a complex question that depends on the facts of your case, but some things to consider will be:

  • Whether the property owner or person responsible for maintaining the pool complied with safety requirements – why is there flesh eating bacteria in their swimming pool?
  • Whether you sought treatment immediately – if you wait to seek treatment, the pool owner will try to claim you contracted the infection somewhere else.

You will need expert testimony to establish liability, causation, and damages, including:

  • Medical testimony about the nature and extent of the injury;
  • Medical testimony as to the symptoms and cause of the injury;
  • Expert testimony as to the applicable safety standards and how they were violated by the pool owner; and
  • Expert testimony about your medical expenses, future medical expenses, and the extent of any disfigurement you have suffered.

When you take your children to a hotel swimming pool or a water park, you expect the business owner to provide a germ-free environment that is safe for the public. It is not reasonable to suffer an amputated limb or death as a consequence of visiting the local water park…

SC Swimming Pool and Water Park Injury Lawyers in Myrtle Beach

Necrotizing fasciitis caused by flesh eating bacteria in swimming pools is a horrible, painful, disfiguring, and potentially fatal condition that is preventable. If you have suffered through this because of the negligence of a hotel or water park in Myrtle Beach, we want to:

  1. Ensure that you are fully compensated, including punitive damages when appropriate; and
  2. Make sure that it never happens again.

Your Myrtle Beach personal injury attorney at Coastal Law will help you to determine who was responsible for the exposure and infection, gather the evidence to prove it, and file suit against the responsible parties. Call us now at (843) 488-5000 or fill out our online form to set up a free initial consultation.

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