Chula Vista student with flesh-eating bacteria undergoes 10th su - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Chula Vista student with flesh-eating bacteria undergoes 10th surgery

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Chula Vista High School student who contracted the flesh-eating bacteria known as necrotizing fasciitis last month remained in critical condition at Rady Children's Hospital and is about to undergo his 10th surgery.

Giancarlo Gil, 14, began feeling sick Sept. 19. Doctors later had to amputate his right leg up to his hip to stem the spread of the disease.

According to the hospital, Giancarlo is making "small improvements" and is able to respond when his parents speak to him. A hospital statement said his family thanks the community for prayers, love and support they've received.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, necrotizing fasciitis is a bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body's soft tissue. Accurate diagnosis, prompt treatment with intravenously administered antibiotics and surgery are important to stopping the infection, which can become life-threatening in a very short amount of time.

The CDC said the occurrence of the disease is rare, even though it can be caused by several types of bacteria. Healthy people with strong immune systems can usually avoid the disease by practicing good hygiene and proper wound care.

Bacteria found on the skin can lead to necrotizing fasciitis, if wounds aren't cleansed, according to Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer.

She said that since 2010, 124 cases of necrotizing fasciitis have been reported in San Diego County.

Of those patients, only three have been under the age of 17, according to Wooten. She said many of the others had an underlying medical condition that weakened their immune system.

People who get any kind of injury that breaks the skin -- even as simple as a paper cut, blister or scrape -- should see a doctor if the wound gets warm and/or oozes, she said.

A GoFundMe page for Giancarlo had raised more than $20,600 through mid-afternoon Friday, with donations from nearly 360 people over 11 days.

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