CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ala.- A 15-year-old boy is in the hospital after receiving a large cut and bacterial infection while at Lake Weiss.
Keegan Knowles and his brother were walking up towards the bank in shallow water when Keegan cut the top of his foot.
Keegan was rushed to the emergency room where he received 20 stitches and antibiotics. He woke up with a fever the next day and doctors at a Georgia hospital determined he contracted Aeromonas Hydrophilia. Doctors say it can lead to destructive soft tissue infections. Keegan has spent eight nights in the hospital so far. While the family says doctors tell them the bacteria is gone from Keegan's system, he still faces more surgery. A skin graft is planned for Tuesday. There is a GoFundMe page set up to help with Keegan's medical bills. You can find it here.
There's a lot of talk on social media calling this a "flesh-eating" bacteria. Officials with the Alabama Department of Public Health say the term "flesh-eating" isn't widely used by medical professionals because it can mean anything to anyone and tends to cause fear in the public.
Officials with the Alabama Department of Public Health say bacterial infections from lakes aren't new. If you have a cut and swim in a lake, experts say you are more at risk of getting an infection. Officials stress not to get in the lake if you have a cut.
The Department of Public Health says if there are concerns in any body of water that it would notify the public. State and local officials say Weiss Lake is safe for swimmers.
Representatives with the Alabama Department of Public Health and Alabama Power, which manages Weiss Lake, say they were not notified of this situation.