Chula Vista teen battling flesh-eating bacteria upgraded to seri - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Chula Vista teen battling flesh-eating bacteria upgraded to serious condition

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Chula Vista High School student who contracted the so-called flesh-eating bacteria last month was upgraded Thursday from critical to serious condition at Rady Children's Hospital, and was said to be alert and speaking to his parents.
   
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 necrotizing fasciitis.
   
According to the hospital, Giancarlo is "slowly making progress in his recovery" from the disease and at least 10 surgeries.
   
Hospital officials said the teen's parents are overwhelmed with the support they continue to receive from family, friends and Giancarlo's classmates.
   
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, necrotizing fasciitis spreads quickly and kills the body's soft tissue. Accurate diagnosis, prompt treatment with intravenously administered antibiotics and surgery are important to stopping the bacterial skin infection, 
which can become life-threatening in a very short amount of time.
   
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.
   
Since 2010, 124 cases of necrotizing fasciitis have been reported in San Diego County, she said. Of those patients, only three have been under the age of 17, according to Wooten, who 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 -- at https://www.gofundme.com/r652cfec -- had raised nearly $23,000 through late-afternoon today, with donations from nearly 400 people over 25 days.

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