LAUREL, Del.- It's a rare but serious disease that is getting a lot of attention these days.
It's called flesh-eating bacteria. The disease sounds scary because it is.
Sixty-year-old Terry Layton of Laurel clearly remembers the day her life took a turn for the worst, seven years ago.
"I was just lying on the couch one night and all of a sudden I started having this excruciating pain in my left ankle," Layton said Monday.
Layton was rushed to the hospital where she said doctors diagnosed the pain as gout. Layton was sent home with pain medication.
"By the next day it burst opened and it was just oozing," she said.
Layton went back to the emergency room where doctors told her that her leg had gangrene.
"They cut it off right above the knee first and then it just kept going up farther and farther," Layton explained.
She said at first, doctors couldn't pinpoint what exactly was eating away at her leg, which they ended up amputating.
Layton was taken to Baltimore where she found the answer she was seeking.
"They had more cases, it was flesh-eating bacteria," she said.
According to the medical website WebMD, the flesh-eating bacteria is also known as Necrotizing Fasciitis. It can destroy skin, fat, and the tissue covering the muscles within a very short time. Several kinds of bacteria can be flesh-eating.
"This is what's left of my left leg, this is a stump," said Layton pointing to the area where her leg was amputated.
Layton said she wishes there was more awareness back in the day when her life changed.
She added that not enough is being done about the disease that's has made new headlines recently due to a handful of people being infected. That includes 24-year-old Georgia graduate Aimee Copeland and 36-year-old Lana Kuykendall, a South Carolina woman who gave birth to twins and then became ravaged by a flesh-eating bacteria.
"You are always in fear," Layton said, "The doctors in the medical world everybody needs to be aware of this, aware of the symptoms so it can be diagnosed right away."
Layton said she is on permanent medication because she still feels the pain even after seven years.
She said she is thinking about starting a local organization in her area to raise awareness about flesh-eating bacteria.