-- Brazilian model Mariana Bridi da Costa, whose hands and feet were amputated in a bid to save her from a deadly and little-known illness, died early Saturday, two friends of the model told CNN.
... Da Costa, 20, had fought a pernicious disease that has ravaged her body and forced doctors to perform the amputations and extract part of her stomach as well as both kidneys.
She had been breathing through a respirator, officials at Dorio Silva Hospital in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo said Friday.
Da Costa suffered from necrosis, or the fast deadening of tissue, caused by septicemia. Septicemia, triggered by a bacterial infection, causes insufficient blood flow that can lead to organ failure.
A doctor who recently published an article in The New England Journal of Medicine on the disease, told CNN that little was known about the illness, although it is the tenth leading cause of deaths in the United States.
"We know a lot about what happens once a patient contracts the illness but we know very little about what causes it," said Dr. Greg Martin of Emory University in Atlanta.
Martin said sepsis
is a "response" to an infection that can cause the immune system to lose its balance.