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

Necrotizing fasciitis, the rare flesh-eating disorder that has already claimed the leg of 24-year-old Georgia grad student Aimee Copeland, now looks likely to claim her fingers.

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A Georgia woman has contracted a rare form of flesh eating bacteria. (Christopher Furlong/AFP/Getty Images)

Necrotizing fasciitis, the rare flesh-eating disorder that has already claimed the leg of 24-year-old Georgia grad student Aimee Copeland, now looks likely to claim her fingers.

Copeland — who contracted necrotizing fasciitis after cutting herself on a homemade zip line while kayaking with friends in Carrollton on May 1 — was still listed in critical condition on Sunday, Reuters cited a spokeswoman for Doctor's Hospital in Augusta as saying.

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Her father, Andy Copeland, however said in  a Facebook post Sunday that her fingers were also likely to be amputated, although she may retain the use of her palms after surgery, allowing for prosthetics.

"Aimee is doing wonderful this morning," Andy Copeland reportedly wrote. "She is awake, alert and wanting to be rid of that blasted ventilator."

Copeland said his daughter was frustrated by being unable to speak and therefore communicate with him and other family members.

"I tell her not to worry, I tell her to concentrate on breathing, I ask her to pray and meditate on healing. I hold her and pray while she prays," he wrote. "This is all we can do now and I can honestly say it works quite well."

Meanwhile, a post on the website of the University of West Georgia psychology department, where Copeland is a masters student, read: "Aimee will suffer the loss of her fingers, however physicians have hope of bringing life back to the palms of her hands, which could allow her the muscle control to use helpful prosthetics."

"They are awaiting a safe time before embarking on surgery for this," the post read, according to NewsCore.

Necrotizing fasciitis infects the deep layers of the skin and spreads quickly.

When Aimee Copeland initially presented at the emergency room at Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton, doctors closed her wound with 22 staples and gave her pain medication.

However, days later a friend drove the "pale and weak" student to the hospital, where an emergency room doctor diagnosed her with necrotizing fasciitis.

She was airlifted to JMS Burn Center in Augusta, where doctors amputation of her left leg at the hip.

She also suffered cardiac arrest, but the doctors were able to resuscitate her. 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120513/necrotizing-fasciitis-flesh-eating-disorder-aimee-copeland