Fish pedicure ends with amputation of all toes

Young vacationer infects with bone-eating bacteria in the fish spa

This holiday will probably not forget the young Thailand travelers their entire lives. Unfortunately, this is not due to the beautiful weather and the enchanting scenario, but to the buttering germ, which she caught in a fish pedicure. The bacterium Shewanella putrefaciens remained in the foot for two years before doctors found the water bacillus. But it was too late – all five toes had to be amputated.

The 29-year-old Victoria Curthoys from Perth, Australia, is mentioned in several English media. In 2010 she made a trip to Thailand. There she used the spa offer "Fish Spa", which is widely used in Thailand. With this fish-pedicure you can keep your feet in an aquarium full of freshwater fish, which then immediately start eating skin flakes of the feet. There she went, according to English media reports, to the bone-eating Shewanella bacteria, which gradually digested their toes.

In a Thai fish pedicure, a young Australian woman was infected with bone-eating Shewanella bacteria in 2010. In the next seven years, she gradually lost all toes on her right foot. Now she is afraid to lose her leg too. (Image: Romolo Tavani /

It all started with a piece of broken glass

The disaster started at the age of 17 years. The Australian stepped into a shard and got a wound infection on the big toe. This then had to be amputated in two. When she went to Thailand a few years later, she retired for the fish pedicure for an infection on the same toe.

It looked very clean

"I did not think so, because I saw how the owner set up the system and it looked very clean," Victoria Curthoys says to the English magazine "The Sun". The germ is probably the earlier surgical wound invaded. A short time later she had to fight with feverish illnesses time after time. Doctors were initially unable to identify a cause.

Two years of helplessness

Until 2012, doctors could not help Victoria Curthoys. Meanwhile, the bacteria had prepared the remaining bone of the big toe. The doctors were forced to amputate the entire toe. "When they realized what it was, my whole toe leg had been eaten away and I had suffered from illness all the time," said Curthoys.

Result with rash

After the amputation, relief was introduced. "I was relieved to be able to return to my life without always being ill," says the Australian about her ordeal. But the bacteria had already attacked the next toe unnoticed. A year after the amputation, sudden ulcers appeared on the second toe, after which it had to be amputated.

Gradually she lost all her toes

In 2016 Victoria Curthoys again had problems with her foot. A podiatrist who finds bone infections again in a blood test. In November 2016 she lost her third and fourth toes. The little toe, the surgeons for the time being. "Last year I noticed some fluid in my sock, but I could not see any cuts," says Curthoys. After further blood tests and X-rays, a new bone infection was discovered, so that the last toe was removed in November 2017.

Now she is afraid of losing her leg

Now Victoria Curthoys examines her entire right leg every day for contusions, for fear that the Shewanella bacteria is still in her body. On her Instagram profile, the self-assured Australian photo ?? s of photos of her suffering history and wants to protect people against such a fate.

About Shewanella bacteria

Shewanella bacteria are most common in fresh water, salt or waste water. They rarely cause infections in humans. In the human body they can overcome abscesses, existing wounds or the digestive tract. According to the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 16 cases of Shewanella infection have been documented in humans, two of which are fatal. As a rule, the bacteria can be treated with antibiotics, but some strains are resistant. (Vb)