Girl gets flesh eating bacteria from the Reservoir

RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – A day of fun turns scary for a local girl after an accident at the Ross Barnett  Reservoir.

Hobbling on crutches, Liza Link is fortunately in less pain now than she was right after a tubing accident on Saturday. After being thrown from her tube, she cut her foot and immediately felt a burning sensation.

“Whenever I saw it the first night, the thing was huge, like swollen,” Link said.

After two days of downplaying the injury, Liza’s mom took her to the doctor, who said she had been infected with a flesh eating bacteria.

“She had a huge shot. She had lots of antibiotics. They said they may not work. And if they don’t work, we may have to do something different,” Chris Link, Liza’s mom said.

John Sigman, General Manager at the Rez, says reports of infections like Liza’s have become more frequent. But he argues it doesn’t make the water any less safe.

“The Reservoir is what it’s always been. It’s never changed. The bacteria that was there yesterday, or last week, or last month is still the bacteria that is there,” Link said.

He says when those bacteria get into an open wound and go untreated, it causes the flesh eating bacteria, “The flesh is being eaten away by the toxins the bacteria produce, not by the bacteria itself.”

Sigman says the bacteria involved are very common, and can be found in most places. But, if you plan on hopping in any river or lake this weekend, clean cuts and open wounds immediately. And see a doctor if they get worse within the next 12 hours.

As for Liza, she’s waiting for the infection to clear up so she can get back to cheerleading.

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