A tiny paper cut, seemingly one of life's most mild injuries, can be far from innocuous with the potential to invite flesh-eating bacteria and sepsis, which lead to amputation and death.
This was the case for 26-year-old marketing manager Ryan Taylor, from Queensland, Australia, who nicked his finger on a piece of paper in July and wound up having to undergo 10 surgeries in three weeks, The Daily Mail reported.
Taylor was not aware that a rare flesh-eating disease, also known as necrotizing fasciitis, had entered into the small wound until his hand swelled up and the skin began to peel from his arm within 12 hours.
He rushed to hospital, where doctors warned that they may have to amputate, but after several surgeries he was able to keep his arm.
Taylor is still recovering, having to undergo intensive physiotherapy three time a week to regain the full use of his hand, but he is lucky to be alive.
The Daily Mail reported that up to 40 percent of victims die from the extremely deadly flesh-eating bacteria worldwide.
Fortunately, the disease is rare, with about four cases per 100,000 people occurring each year in the U.S., a 2015 study noted.
Necrotizing fasciitis occurs at random and is commonly contracted through a break in the skin, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Small cuts and scrapes are enough for bacteria to enter into the system, as 46-year-old New Jersey resident Michael Berger discovered in 2016, when he became infected from a paper cut.
Berger quickly developed sepsis and was given a 50 percent survival rate when the cut became infected, The Fraser Coast Chronicle noted.
Doctors at the Kennedy Hospital placed him in a medically induced coma and treated him through the national Sepsis Program. Their efforts saved his life.
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