Unusual Number of Flesh Eating Bacteria Cases at The Nebraska Medical Center

May 29, 2012

Six recent cases of flesh eating bacteria are not connected, according to the Director of The Nebraska Medical Center’s Hyperbaric Oxygen Unit.

Dr. Jeff Cooper says all six individuals were infected with different organisms.  He says though some individuals, such as those with diabetes, those who smoke, and the obese are more susceptible to flesh eating bacteria, contracting a virus is largely a matter of bad luck.  

Dr. Cooper says one way individuals contract the bacteria is through a direct injury, such as a bite or cut on the skin.  He says we always have staph and strep on our skin, and if that gets into us through a break in the skin, then bacteria can rapidly multiply.  Dr. Cooper says the best defense is good hygiene.

"If you do get a scratch or cut, it’s just important to wash it out with soap and water right away.  Even minor stuff, you just want to clean it out.  Because any of these bad acting bacteria that are in there, if you just wash them out before they take hold, then nothing happens.”

Dr. Cooper says all six patients were treated in the hyperbaric oxygen unit and all are doing better.  He says the last case of flesh eating bacteria the unit treated was in September of 2011. 

Information on the hyperbaric oxygen unit is available online at