Family members say Joseph Allen had a problem with his boat and entered the river to try to resolve it. He had a sore on his right arm through which the Necrotizing Fasciitis bacteria entered his body. EMS was called when he became weak after getting out of the river. They said he was just exhausted and recommended going home to rest.
Wednesday his entire arm was swollen and he was admitted to the hospital with a temperature of 104 degrees. Doctors had to remove much of the flesh from his arm to stop the spread of the bacteria and save his life. Allen must remain in ICU for a week and will under skin grafts and therapy for the next several weeks.
Necrotizing faciitis is a rare condition and is not contagious. It is usually contracted when certain bacteria enters the body through a small scratch or sore and can spread within hours. The infection can be picked up from dirty water or contaminated surfaces.
Allen is the third reported case in Georgia in recent years. A Bryan County firefighter died about two years ago. Infection from a zip line accident resulting in a Georgia woman losing several body parts to the disease.