17-Year-Old Dancer Recovers from Flesh-Eating Bacteria: 'Miracle Child'

·2 min read
Olivia Kiger-Camilo
Olivia Kiger-Camilo


Olivia Kiger-Camilo, a 17-year-old dancer from West Virginia, was diagnosed with a rare flesh-eating bacteria several months ago, and although the disease can be fatal, she has recovered.

Kiger-Camilo was at a dance competition in March when she noticed a bleeding open wound in her foot that was causing her intense pain, but she focused on the competition and kept dancing.

"As a dancer, as an athlete, you kind of just brush it aside," Kiger-Camilo told WTRF. "I thought I maybe broke a toe. As the night went on and as we finally got back home, my pain just kept growing and growing."

Her pain continued the next day, and her parents took her to the emergency room where her condition worsened. Her mother, Rebecca Kiger, demanded a transfer to another hospital, she told PEOPLE. She was air-lifted by the WVU Medicine Children's Transport Team to WVU Medicine Children's Hospital in Morgantown.

Kiger-Camilo's foot had become black and blue, and she had low blood pressure and a high temperature that reached 103-degrees.

Her condition was identified as an extremely rare case of mono-microbial necrotizing fasciitis, which can be deadly.

RELATED: What to Know About Necrotizing Fasciitis — the Flesh-Eating Bacteria Showing Up at Beaches

Kiger-Camilo had multiple surgeries in March to remove the bacteria, causing her to stay in the hospital for almost a month. She also required a skin graft and physical therapy. She is now working on her strength and mobility by running and lifting weights.

Olivia Kiger-Camilo
Olivia Kiger-Camilo


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Kiger-Camilo expressed her gratitude to the WVU Medicine Children's team, as she is now healthy and will be able to dance again.

On Aug. 6, Kiger-Camilo will be honored as a "Miracle Child" during the WVU Medicine Children's Gala at Oglebay Resort.

"The transport team saved my life and it saves lives everyday," she told WTRF. "Children who wouldn't be able to get competent medical care wherever they live — they have a chance at life because there are resources that can take them to a hospital of incredibly compassionate, highly trained people who that's all they do. They save lives every day."