Flesh-eating bacteria ravages California woman's foot, exposing bone

A California woman, who said had not been in the water recently, contracted a flesh-eating bacteria that ravaged her foot, eating away at her flesh and exposing her bone.

Noelle Guastacci, of University Heights, California, shared graphic photos of her left foot that showed massive slits that exposing raw muscles and bones. 

"The pain was so excruciating," she told Fox 5 San Diego. "On a scale from one to 10, it was an 11. It felt like someone had poured acid on my foot."

Guastacci said the origin of her infection is a mystery, as she said she had not been in the water recently. 

"I retraced my steps and it's still a mystery to the origin," she told Fox 5.

The infection started with what felt like an internal bruise on the Fourth of July, she said. But her foot quickly ballooned with intense swelling.  

When she was rushed to the hospital, doctors told her she had contracted necrotizing fasciitis, the station reported. 

"I was facing possible amputation. I was told if I had waited a few hours I possibly could've lost my life."

After nearly two weeks of care, she was released from the hospital on Wednesday.

She said doctors told her that if she waited until the next morning to seek help she could have died.

Guastacci said she is thankful to have sought help and wants others to know about the seriousness of the infection. 

Public health experts believe group A Streptococcus are the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis, although the method of entry is still the same as cases involving water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bacteria most commonly enters the body through a break in the skin including cuts and scrapes, burns, insect bites, puncture wounds, surgical wounds, or blunt trauma.

The infection spreads very quickly with early symptoms including red or swollen skin, severe pain and fever that later progresses to ulcers, blisters or black spots on skin, changes in skin color, pus, dizziness, fatigue, diarrhea or nausea. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.