A 24-year-old Georgia woman contracted necrotizing, flesh-eating bacteria during a zip line accident, ABC News reports.
Aimee Copeland cut her leg when the homemade zip line she was using to cross the Little Tallapoosa River broke on May 1.
It is theorized that Copeland contracted the bacteria, called Aeromonas hydrophila, from the water, creating a condition known as necrotizing fasciitis. The bacteria have claimed her left leg and part of her abdomen.
"The bacteria produce enzymes that can dissolve muscle deep down," Dr. William Schaffner, president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, told ABC News. "And because it's so deep, it can be a sneaky infection that's not immediately appreciated by the patient."
Copeland had gone to the emergency room after the fall, where she received 22 staples to the gash in her leg, but returned the next day complaining of pain, for which she was given painkillers. She returned again on May 3, when she was prescribed antibiotics. That wasn't enough. She returned for the final time on May 4, when she was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis. That night, her left leg was amputated to the hip. And after her condition continued to decline, Copeland ended up losing four limbs: her left leg, right foot and both hands.
Editor's note: This story has been updated since it was originally published in May 2012.