SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Chula Vista High School student who contracted the flesh-eating bacteria known as necrotizing fasciitis remained in critical condition Friday at Rady Children's Hospital, where he was to undergo a seventh surgery tonight.
Giancarlo Gil, 14, was sickened almost two week ago and had his right leg amputated as doctors tried to stem the spread of the virus.
According to a statement released by the hospital and the boy's mother, Silvia Gil, Giancarlo is making progress in his recovery
"Giancarlo's parents want to thank everyone for the support they have received from all over the country these last few days," the statement read. "They also are thankful to everyone who donated blood on his behalf at the San Diego Blood Bank."
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.
Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer, told City News Service on Tuesday that a bacteria found on the skin can lead to necrotizing fasciitis, if wounds aren't cleansed.
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 -- at www.gofundme.com/r652cfec -- had raised more than $18,000 through mid-afternoon Saturday, with donations from more than 300 people over six days.