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South Louisiana woman recovering from flesh-eating bacteria wants to warn others about threat

Kelly Kohen (FOX 8 photo) Kelly Kohen (FOX 8 photo)
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

A New Orleans woman is still recovering from a bout with flesh eating bacteria, and as we enter another summer she wants to warn others.

She says her case points out a number of issues that she wants others to be aware of, so that they don't fall victim too.

It's not the kind of mark anyone would want on their foot. 

Kelly Kohen was having fun on the beach in Grand Isle last year, when she felt a sharp pain in her left foot.

"I was running to the shore, and my friend said stop freaking out," Kohen said.

Kohen had every reason to be concerned. Her friends put a topical treatment on the bite, but she knew she needed more.

"There was blood everywhere, they were wheeling me, in a wagon," she said.

She went to a hospital in New Orleans, and says she was misdiagnosed. Then she went to Ochsner on Jefferson Highway, where she says doctors 
told her she had contracted flesh eating bacteria, and they immediately put her on the right antibiotic.

She is not alone, the CDC monitors dozens of cases each year, including a Texas woman who almost lost her foot after contracting the bacteria  in Galveston four years ago. 

"The only reason I still have a foot is because I got early antibiotics," said Michelle O'Brien..

Kohen wants others to be aware of the threat.  

"I think people should wear shoes wherever they go," said Kohen.

She would also like to urge hospitals to stock the right medication for the bacteria, and she says she's concerned about a lack of warning signs.

"None, there was people next to us fishing as well," she said.

Kohen has missed work for more than a year due to the bacteria, but she hopes to go back soon.

The University of Southern Mississippi says there are about 100 cases of flesh eating bacteria in the U.S. each year. Most occur during the warm weather months, between April and October.

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