6-year-old competitve dancer has leg amputated due to strep throat

A 6-year-old girl renowned for her dancing had to have one of her legs amputated after she contracted a flesh-eating bacteria caused by strep throat.

The trouble started for Tessa Puma when she came down with strep throat in March, according to a family friend. She took antibiotics and was said to have recovered, but last week the little girl then exhibited flu symptoms and had a bad infection in her leg.

Doctors told the family that the strep bacteria traveled into Tessa’s blood stream.

"Her leg started to swell and so her parents took her back to the hospital. She had a flesh-eating bacteria and it was life or death," said Stacey Kopec, a dance teacher at Center Stage Studio in Northfield where Tessa dances.

Doctors did emergency surgery on Saturday and amputated her leg.

"Tomorrow morning they are going back in and making sure there is no more infection," Kopec said Tuesday.

Tessa has been dancing since age 3 and was even recruited to be a part of Center Stage Studio’s competitive team because of her talents.

"She’s one of the youngest on our team," Kopec said. "Dance has been her life. It’s been devastating to her whole team obviously. She’s so bubbly and incredible just an amazing kid. Just keep our tiny dancer in your prayers."