Young Brazilian beauty queen dies of sepsis

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The 20 year old Brazilian beauty queen Mariana Bridi da Costa died of the effects of sepsis after weeks of fighting an overwhelming systemic infection caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a gram-negative bacteria.

In late December 2008, the young model and family breadwinner who represented her country in international beauty contests was initially suspected to have kidney stones and urinary tract infection (UTI) which worsened and led to septicemia (presence of infection in the bloodstream,) loss of consciousness, and the amputation of both her hands and feet.

Pseudomonas is commonly found in soil and water and can cause a gamut of conditions ranging from mild local skin infections to systemic overwhelming ones which involve deep-seated body organs. In severe cases, like the case of Da Costa, the virulent organism can cause poor blood circulation (hypoperfusion,) shock, and breakdown of tissues leading to organ failure, and eventual death.

A rare cause of UTI, the bacteria can be anti-biotic resistant. It may infect patients with low immunity (immunocompromised,) diabetes, cystic fibrosis, hospitalized patients, and those made vulnerable because of certain debilitating illnesses. Known to be in good health before her illness, Da Costa’s infection has baffled her doctors.

The death of the beauty queen on January 24, 2009 sent shock waves to those who admire her. Many concerned individuals who learned about her plight expressed their sympathies and prayers. Her website was overwhelmed by outpouring or support from people all over the world. (Photo Credit: AP)=0=

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