The mere thought of our limbs getting ‘eaten’ away by flesh-eating bacteria just send chills down our spine. What’s even scarier is knowing the fact that some of these deadly bacteria can be found around us.
The public toilet, mountains and jungle are the most risky areas to be infected with this bacteria.
In an interview with KwongWah, Chua who is an experienced mountain guide that has led 13 tours to Gunung Tahan shared his trembling experience when one of his team members was infected with the deadly flesh-eating bacteria.
In 2015, Chua together with his team embarked on a 8-day journey across Gunung Tahan in Pahang.
“One of the members needed to leave due to an emergency at home, so he left with a guide. As we moved on, a lady was soon infected with the bacteria and caught fever.”
According to Chua, the 29-year-old lady caught fever just 5 days into the journey. Despite taking fever medicine, her condition didn’t improve. So they decided to camp there so that she could get some rest.
However, on the 6th day, her left leg started swelling and turned black. To make things worse, they were at the top of the mountains where water, food and medicine were scarce.
“That was the first time a member was infected with bacteria and immediately caught fever. That’s very rare.”
Located deep in the jungle with the satellite phone not working well, they decided to break into 2 teams, allowing the healthy members to go off first, leaving 6 members behind to slowly escort the injured lady down the mountain.
After 2 days of walking with a crutches, her condition worsened. Chua knew he had to take drastic action. So he called a doctor to ask for advice regarding the usage of antibiotics they’ve brought along.
“To be honest, we were completely disoriented at that time. All we could think of was to save her leg, and her life. Luckily, one of the members suddenly had signal on his phone. So I immediately called a doctor.”
Considering the severity of the situation, the doctor suggested them to let the lady have the antibiotics to suppress the infection.
Upon exiting Gunung Tahan, they sent the victim to UKM Hospital and luckily, she didn’t have to go get an amputation.
“Later, the doctor also confirmed with us that the antibiotics we gave her did help combat the infection. But I must emphasise that beginners who are new to mountaineering should consult their doctors regarding the type of medicine to bring and they (medicine) shouldn’t be misused.”
It’s hard for doctors to pinpoint how she was infected as they weren’t there in the mountain. But it was suspected that the victim who had a small wound on her left leg caught the bacteria when crossing the river.
After this story, you’d definitely want to take extra precautions when roaming somewhere dangerous.