Woman Contracts Flesh-Eating Bacteria While Fishing In Gulf Of Mexico

Doctors were fortunately able to save a Mississippi woman's hand after she contracted the flesh-eating bacteria Vibrio vulnificus from a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico. Hers is the third case of the bacteria in Mobile County.

Caught In A Fishing Trip

An unnamed Mississippi woman reportedly contracted the flesh-eating bacteria Vibrio vulnificus after a fishing trip she had with her husband in Fairhope Pier in Alabama.

According to reports, the 70-year-old retired teacher started experiencing symptoms of the infection after the fishing trip where she had apparently been pricked by a live shrimp after she dipped her hand into the bait bucket.

She soon began to show symptoms such as a swelling hand, fever, chills, and headaches. According to her husband, it only took three hours for her to become what he described as "deathly sick."

The couple was in the emergency room by 3 a.m. and hours later, doctors were already conducting the surgery where they removed a lot of the infected tissue from her hand. Testing confirmed the infection to be vibrio vulnificus.

The woman had another surgery to remove more infected tissue, and is scheduled to undergo reconstructive surgery. Given the circumstances, her husband stated that the doctors have described her case as a miracle, especially since most people who contract the bacteria either lose a limb or their lives.

Vibrio vulnificus is a notifiable disease in Alabama, which means that the medical personnel who treat the disease must notify the state.

Death From A Tattoo

Just last month, a man from Texas lost his life after contracting the bacteria when he went for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico just five days after getting a tattoo. Similar to the Mississippi woman, the unnamed 31-year-old experienced symptoms mere hours after the exposure.

Unfortunately, the man was more vulnerable to the disease because he also had a history of chronic liver disease. It didn't help either that his tattoo was still too fresh, giving the bacteria an easy means of entering his body.

Vibrio Vulnificus

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with vibriosis often get the bacteria from consuming raw or undercooked fish or, in the case of the Mississippi woman and the Texas man, exposing an open wound to seawater.

Further, they also note that people with a severe infection often require intensive care or amputation. A quarter of people with v. vulnificus infection die, and sometimes within two days after contraction.

Symptoms of vibriosis usually occur within 24 hours of the infection, and often include vomiting, nausea, cramping, chills, and fever. Though severe infections are rare, people with compromised immune systems are more at risk of experiencing complications due to the infection.

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