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Could flesh-eating bacteria be in local waterways?

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--The terrifying story sweeps the nation, of a 24-year-old grad student fighting to survive after contracting a flesh eating bacteria from a river in Georgia.

Could that type of bacteria be lurking in the James River or other local waterways?

Aimee Copeland contracted the rare infection after an accident that occurred on a homemade zip line during a trip along the little Tallapoosa river, near Augusta.

The bacteria, which was in the water, entered her body through a gash in her leg.

It has since spread throughout her tissue, and doctors have had to remove one of her legs and part of her abdomen.

Could the same bacteria be found in the James River, the Appomattox, or even a local pond or lake?

CBS 6 spoke with a local expert at the state health department, Dr. David Trump

“I can’t make any guarantees about one place or the other,” said Trump. “But there is more risk if the water is stagnant, whether it be cloudy or a pond…or if it is really high temperature.”

Dr. Trump says if you suffer a cut or wound in the water, no matter where it is, get out and get it treated immediately.

Last August, a nine-year old Henrico boy died from an amoeba he picked up while swimming in the James River. His death was one of four deaths by amoeba, as confirmed by the Center for Disease Control. The others were in Kansas, Florida and Louisiana.