PHOTOS | Kentucky man gets flesh-eating bacteria during camping trip

Published: Jul. 17, 2019 at 7:07 PM EDT
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A Kentucky man says he believes he became infected with flesh-eating bacteria during a camping trip, and he is still recovering weeks later.

"Never in my dreams...never in my dreams would I have guessed this would have happened."

WARNING: Some of the photos below are extremely graphic.

It started when Jonathan Metcalf of Lancaster took a Memorial Day weekend trip to the Green River with his family. He described the pain he suffered when he was experiencing discomfort.

"It felt like someone has kicked me in the groin," Metcalf said.

The pain lasted much longer than what a swift kick would bring. He went swimming and camped that weekend, but the next morning he knew something wasn't right. It progressively got worse, and he began complaining of dizziness and fever.

The family left early, and then Metcalf noticed something forming on his left thigh.

"It got to where I couldn't walk," Metcalf said.

A doctor diagnosed Metcalf with necrotizing fasciitis -- a severe bacterial infection that kills tissue and separates the lining from the muscle. The bacteria is found in natural bodies of water. He would spend two weeks in the hospital, and he had a six-inch portion of his upper thigh removed as part of one surgery.

Metcalf is now waiting on a skin graft.

"I've been in mudholes, creeks, four-wheels my whole life, probably every body of water there is. Most of them I was fine in," Metcalf said. "This never would have crossed my mind something like this could have hit me. It's something you see on Facebook that you never think could be in your house."

Metcalf's last two months have been a struggle since he was diagnosed with the life-threatening infection. The electrician has been doing anything but his job description, and now he is learning much more about medical equipment, including a wound vacuum which he still uses. His home treatment requires a nurse.

Metcalf hopes to return to work in a month.