Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Medical | By

Man could lose limbs from flesh-eating bacteria

Man could lose limbs from flesh-eating bacteria

Angel Perez' symptoms began after crabbing near Matts Landing in Southern New Jersey, reports.

She said her father's swelling was so severe, his limbs didn't look real.

Now, 60-year-old Perez is fighting for his life in the hospital and might have to his limbs amputated, his family told New Jersey Advance Media. The next day, in pain with a swollen leg, he went to went to urgent care, where he was given antibiotics.

The National Institutes of Health says that while Vibrio bacteria "is one of the more infrequent causes of necrotizing fasciitis", it has a 26 percent mortality rate because it rapidly spreads and it is hard to diagnose.

Infections caused by Vibrio bacteria can enter "through an existing wound and ... cause other complications such as necrotizing fasciitis [an infection causing tissue death], which he unfortunately got", Megan Sheppard, a health officer with the Cumberland County Department of Health, told KYW. It's typically contracted after wading through saltwater or eating raw shellfish. "It was swelling, it was blistered", she recalled.

His fingers and toes began turning dark brown and black, sores or blisters appeared on all his limbs. "The infection has spread to his blood.his skin; you can see it spreading from his feet all the way above his kneecap".

Perez has Parkinson's disease, which could put him at greater risk for this type of an infection. Perez can still breath on his own and communicate with his family.

"It was swelling so much, it looked like a prosthetic", Perez-Dilan said. The Centers for Disease Control only sees in about 200 such cases nationally each year. "And then another friend of (Perez) that goes fishing there, he now has a baseball-size swelling of his elbow, and that's where he's been going".

Perez tested positive for a bacterium commonly found in coastal ocean water, Vibrio vulnificus, according to KYW. We think water is safe. They do say that Mr. Perez is in good spirits.

Perez-Dilan warned people that a quick dip in the waters could come with frightening consequences.

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