Man's leg amputated after contracting flesh-eating bacteria from Connecticut beach

People crowd the beach at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Conn., Sunday, May 28, 2006. (AP Photo/Bob Child)

MADISON, Conn. (WTHR) — A Connecticut man has contracted flesh-eating bacteria after swimming at a beach with a cut on his leg.

NBC Connecticut reports 68-year-old Bruce Kagan went swimming at Hammonasset Beach State Park and a few days later, he started to feel sick. Kagan's family said he got a cut on his leg from work, and still went in the water.

He was admitted into a hospital June 30, and just two days later, doctors made the decision to amputate his leg above the knee.

"My life changed within one moment saying, 'Yeah, it's going to be OK.' Next moment, 'We don't know if you're going to be OK," Kagan said.

While part of his leg is now gone, Kagan said he is one of the luckiest men in the world because he doesn't know how he made it out.

Ultimately, Kagan's doctors decided to amputate his leg because other surgeries were unsuccessful in preventing the spread of the bacteria.

Flesh-eating bacteria can lead to a condition known as necrotizing fasciitis. While it's very rare, it is often deadly. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 people with the disease die from it.

A Mooresville girl was one of the lucky ones to escape death caused by the disease.

A doctor at the hospital where Kagan had his surgery said while the disease is rare, cases may be increasing because there are more people at high risk.

"I do know over the decade we have more people who are immune-compromised," Dr. Joseph Glassford Garner said. "So we have more people at risk for this type of infection."

Prevention and immediate action after symptoms arise are key to protecting yourself from the dangers of flesh-eating bacteria. If you develop any redness, fever or local pain after entering natural waters, go see a doctor immediately.

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