CBS Local — An Arizona mother of three, who was initially diagnosed with the flu, has been hospitalized after she was found to be suffering from a flesh-eating virus instead.

Christin Lipinski’s family says their mother was treated for the flu on Jan. 11 but her condition continued to get worse. “After several days of increasing pain and failing to receive proper medical care from multiple medical facilities, Christin was transported by ambulance to a Level 1 Trauma Hospital,” her relatives write on a GoFundMe page set up to help with her medical expenses.

“Due to the time that had lapsed caused by the misdiagnoses, the bacterial infection developed into a highly aggressive form of necrotizing faciitis,” the family added. Necrotizing faciitis is a serious bacterial infection that spreads across the skin, killing soft tissue, and can quickly become fatal, according to the CDC.

Early symptoms of the virus (including fever, sore throat, nausea, diarrhea, and chills) can reportedly be mistaken for the flu. The key difference can be found in the affected area of skin, which often becomes red, swollen, and hot to the touch because of the bacteria.

Lipinski’s family adds that their mother has had 30 percent of her soft tissue surgically removed because of the late diagnosis. The Arizona resident is expected to be hospitalized for several months as she recovers. Over $12,500 has already been raised by the Lipinskis to pay for their mother’s ongoing care.

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