Bacteria growing in a petri dish. Getty Images

A Florida man, who was hospitalized after doctors discovered he had contracted flesh-eating bacteria, is on the path to recovery, according to reports.

The 32-year-old Wayne Atkins of Miami was hospitalized since the Father’s Day weekend after he fell sick from a hike in New Hampshire. According to the doctors, the deadly bacteria entered Atkins’ body through blisters on his foot during the trip.

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According to Manchester ABC affiliate WMUR-TV, Atkins had attended a wedding in Granite State which went smoothly despite the blisters on his foot. However, they didn't go away and he started feeling sick. Worried, he went to the hospital where he learned things were much worse than he'd thought.

According to the doctors, the blisters had let bacteria named Group A Streptococcus enter his body. The bacteria cause diseases including cellulitis with blood infection and pneumonia. In Atkins’ case, the bacteria caused necrotizing fasciitis, a serious infection that spreads quickly and kills the body’s soft tissue. Atkins was left in a coma for two weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that infections from group A strep bacteria are generally mild and are easily treated. But in cases of necrotizing fasciitis, they spread quickly once they enter the body. The bacteria infect the fascia, connective tissue that surrounds muscles, nerves, fat, and blood vessels. The infection could also damage the tissues next to the fascia. Sometimes toxins made by these bacteria destroy the tissue they infect, causing it to die.

This, according to the CDC, is a sign that the infection is very serious and those infected can lose limbs or even die. The most common way of getting necrotizing fasciitis is when the bacteria enter the body through a break in the skin such as cuts, scrapes, burns, insect bites, or puncture wounds.

The symptoms include red or purple skin in the affected area, severe pain, fever, and vomiting. The most commonly affected areas are the limbs and the region of the body between the pubic arch and the tail bone.

The CDC recommends good wound care as the best way to prevent the infection. They also suggest that the open wounds must be covered with clean, dry bandages until it is healed.

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Since 2010, approximately 700 to 1100 cases occur each year in the United States. In some areas of the world, it is as common as 1 in every 100,000 people.

In Atkins’ case, his failure to get his wound treated properly had led to the life-threatening condition, according to doctors. Multiple reports said doctors at the University of Miami Hospital cured him through antibiotics and surgery.

“I definitely have a new appreciation of life after going through this experience, ’cause it's scary to know that I was so close to death.” He added jokingly: “I don’t think I’ll ever want to play the Lotto again if that’s what hitting the jackpot feels like,” Atkins told WSVN TV.