Man Survives Killer Flesh-Eating Bacteria

A 34-year-old man from the U.K. has overcome the odds and survived a potentially killer infection that spread over 20 percent of his body.

Gavin Elliott of Ipswich, England thought he had pulled a muscle back in June – but it actually turned out to be flesh-eating bacteria, the Daily Mail reported.

Also known as necrotizing fasciitis – the condition is extremely rare and destroys the muscles, skin and underlying tissue. The death rate is high, even with aggressive treatment the National Institutes of Health said on its Web site. If left untreated, the infection spreads and causes death.

“There was a red mark under my armpit and I had a pain in my left side,” Elliot told the newspaper, describing the events that led to his diagnosis. “We'd been out with friends the night before and I just thought I'd pulled a muscle.”

Within 24 hours, the infection had spread like wildfire and Elliot was rushed to the hospital where he underwent two 3-hour operations, according to the report.

“Luckily, the surgeon who did the operation had seen it before and knew exactly what it was,” Elliot told the Mail. “They cut open my chest and removed a lot of skin from my back and side. When I came out, I was on life support for quite a while.”

Dr. David Rae, who diagnosed the condition, has only treated a hand full of patients with necrotizing fasciitis.

“What Mr. Elliott went through was horrific. Everyone who looked after him has commented on how courageous he was,” Rae said.

After spending more than a month in the hospital, Elliot is finally at home recovering with his family, the Mail reported.

Click here to read more and to see photos from the Daily Mail.