Lifestyle & Belief

Flesh-eating bacteria victim Aimee Copeland is improving, say her doctors


A Georgia woman has contracted a rare form of flesh eating bacteria.


Christopher Furlong

Flesh-eating bacteria victim Aimee Copeland is improving, though doctors say she can expect a "roller coaster ride of highs and lows" in the coming weeks and months as she battles against necrotizing fasciitis, CNN reported

"Personally I don't like the roller coaster analogy," Andy Copeland, Aimee's father, wrote Tuesday on the blog he is keeping to record his daughter's struggle. "The best part of a roller coaster ride is when you are falling, because although it can be terrifying, it is extremely exhilarating. Sooner or later, the ride has to slow down and crest another incline."

"Each day, we claim some small victory," Copeland continued. "We don't have to see physical progress, we seem to take comfort from simple words, silly actions and quiet moments."

More from GlobalPost: Aimee Copeland, Georgia student attacked by necrotizing fasciitis — flesh-eating bacteria — may lose fingers

The 24-year-old University of West Georgia psychology student is currently on life support at the Joseph M. Still Center in Augusta, Georgia, according to NBC News

Copeland cut her leg on a homemade zip line May 1st, and was diagnosed with the rare bacteria three days later. Her left leg was amputated at the hip, and part of her abdomen was removed, according to CNN. The doctors expect to amputate her fingers as well. 

"Every hour that goes by, her prognosis improves," Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, told CBS News

About 750 cases of the rare flesh-eating bacterial infection occur each year, most often caused by a type of step germ. Aimee's case, however, was caused by Aeromonas hydrophila, which is even more rare: one expert said there have only been a handful of those cases over the past few decades, according to CBS News. 

More from GlobalPost: Rare bacteria kills lab researcher in San Francisco

Copeland has been infused with 168 pints of blood since she contracted the disease, according to CNN. The average human body contains about 10 pints of blood, according to America's Blood Centers.

"You've got a lot of need," Mr. Copeland told CNN. "We've got blood drives in Augusta, Carrollton, Winder, Lawrenceville, Snellville," he added, referring to communities in Georgia.

The University of West Georgia, where Copeland was getting her master's degree, is holding a blood drive today from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. in honor of Aimee, CBS News reported. 

"I just felt like I could do something to help, and the least I could do was donate a pint of blood," Shirley Murphy told CNN.