Barely two weeks after the right leg of 50-year-old Brian Parrott from Houston was amputated due to bacterial invasion, a man from Buda in Texas fights for his life after contracting flesh-eating bacteria at the beach.
Adrian Ruiz had a Father’s Day getaway at Port Aransas last weekend, seeking to fish and soak up some sun with his family. On Sunday, however, he began complaining about a headache and a rash on the leg that worsened in the next few days.
He was diagnosed with Vibrio vulnificus infection, typically known to ravage flesh because of the way the toxins kill skin cells they encounter through scrapes and cuts. This bacteria could be obtained from undercooked shellfish or contaminated water (such as on the beach) while having an open wound or cut.
His wife, Lashelle, recalled that back then they hadn’t heard of the related case of flesh-eating bacteria in Galveston.
“If we would have known that there was flesh-eating bacteria in the water, we wouldn’t have gotten in,” she told KXAN-TV, adding that her husband’s condition got worse after another day and they are harboring fears over the possibility of losing his leg.
Doctors said, however, that things are starting to look positive for Ruiz, who was not found to have any cuts. His swelling, for instance, is going down, according to Dr. Fausto Meza, Seton VP for medical affairs.
Despite their love for the beach, the family has resolved to include only freshwater in their forthcoming vacations. It’s a case of enter-at-your-own-risk, said Lashelle. They are also seeking help for Ruiz's medical bills through a donation page.
The Texas health department stated there have been 27 documented cases of Vibrio infection so far this year, 41 percent of which involved contact with water. Last year, there were 102 total reported cases, 45 percent of which are linked to water contact.
About 80,000 infection and 100 deaths stem from Vibrio each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To avoid wound infections, people are recommended to avoid handling any raw seafood if they currently have a wound. Protective clothing such as gloves may help when handling this food. Avoid marine or brackish water, too, when there’s an existing wound.
If there is a wound or injury sustained while handling seafood or dealing with salty seawater, it is advisable to thoroughly clean and disinfect the affected area right away, as well as seek prompt medical attention once the area gets inflamed.