In disconcerting news, a third victim has now come forward claiming to be suffering from the flesh-eating disease that has already claimed limbs and appendages from Georgia college student Aimee Copeland.
32-year old Robert Vaughn says he was working on a landscape project for work when he suddenly felt terrible, focused pain in his groin area before getting violently ill.
"Just godawful pain in my groin area. It's hard to walk, hard to sit down, it just hurt, hurt all in my back," he said.
Vaughn was rushed to the hospital--to the very area where Aimee Copeland was suffering from the bacteria in intensive care, in fact--and was told he had a form of the disease. Doctors removed 2 1/2 pounds of dead flesh from his leg, but say that it is very, very rare for someone to have contracted the bacteria without having an open wound somewhere on their body. Vaughn says he believes he picked it up in the brush he was landscaping.
The bacteria, which is similar to the one that causes strep throat, usually only causes stomach upset and is most often found in warm water, such as a lake or river. Aimee Copeland contracted it when she cut her leg in a zip-line accident on the Tallapoosa River on May 1st. The second case was reported just two weeks later, in a South Carolina woman who had just given birth to twins.
Doctors are still stumped as to why there's been a sudden influx of such a rare form of the bacterial infection, and say simple safeguards against it are washing hands frequently, taking care when in warm freshwater areas, and cleaning wounds immediately, even if they don't appear to be that bad.