LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - A Lake County man said he nearly lost his life and lost
his home after contracting a flesh eating bacteria.
Ronnie Smith said he contracted the bacteria while swimming and fishing at Lake Lucy in Groveland on Easter weekend.
"They told me it was a bacteria flesh
-eating disease. It comes from different places, but I told them I was in the water, and they say it most likely came from the water. They said it was necrotizing fasciitis," Smith said.
Smith said he thinks the bacteria got into his body through an open wound.
"I felt a sharp pain, I felt it immediately," Smith said.
After a week, Smith said he went to hospital.
“They diagnosed me at the hospital and did immediate surgery,” Smith said.
Smith was later taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center when doctors said they weren’t sure if he’d make it.
"My doctor told me ‘Mr. Smith, you're a lucky man
. The first two weeks I was doing surgery on you, I couldn't see nothing but bacteria inside of you,’" Smith said.
Smith was in the hospital for seven weeks and has been out of work. He lost the home he was renting and is now living with family.
Smith said he is grateful to be alive and wants others to be aware of the deadly bacteria.
“It’s in our fresh waters, too, so be careful,” Smith said.
Smith said that if all goes well, he will be able to go back to work in about three weeks.