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84-Year-Old Woman Attacked By Rare Bacteria In Gulf, Loses Leg

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File photo of IV bags. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of IV bags. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

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NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — A rare bacteria in the Gulf of Mexico has left a woman fighting for her life.

WBBH NBC-2 reports that 84-year-old Margaret Freiwald was swimming near Tampa when she cut her leg while boating. Then she went on vacation in Collier County and became gravely ill.

She’s now in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Naples. The infection was so aggressive that doctors were forced to amputate her leg.

Doctors told the family that Freiwald came in contact with a bacterium called vibrio vulnificus. The infection has also attacked her internal organs; she suffered kidney failure and had a heart attack.

Health experts say the virus can thrive in any warm saltwater body across the country.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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