A guy from Ocean Springs who swayed his feet in the water during a weekend fishing trip is still confined in a hospital after his leg got amputated due to flesh-eating infection more than a week ago.
Gregory Bru Sr. was said to be still in critical condition Wednesday at Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula. Fighting for his life in the intensive care unit (ICU), Bru has contracted a severe infection known as Vibrio vulnificus, also referred as flesh-eating bacteria.
Bru, nicknamed as Cookie by his friends, has constantly been passing time on the water. He travelled from the Ocean Springs Harbor to Horn and Chandeleur Islands off the Biloxi coast to catch fish Saturday, April 11, 2015. On dreadful Monday, April 13, his left leg was surgically removed just below the knee. His son, Gregory Bru, Jr. said viewing his dad experience this suffering is heart breaking and hoped that nobody else will get the bacteria.
Dr. Okechukwu Ekenna, a board certified infectious disease specialist in Pascagoula and currently affiliated with Singing River Hospital, stated April is still early for Vibrio infections. The said bacteria thrive in marine environments such as brackish ponds or coastal areas, mostly during the summer months. Ekenna also mentioned the organisms generally enter a person's body through open skin wounds, such as cuts but could also be acquired by eating raw oysters and inhaling the water.
People with compromised immune systems, particularly those with chronic liver disease, are at a higher risk of serious complications as the bacteria is more likely to spread into their bloodstream. Greg Jr. said his dad had his spleen taken out as a child and has liver disease.
Bru Sr. has been in the ICU now for over a week, and his son said he is not out of danger yet.
Ekenna said the key to successful treatment is getting to the hospital fast once the symptoms are noticed, which usually appear in the first 24 hours after contact. He also advises caution if one spends time in Gulf waters especially those with open wounds.
If symptoms like blisters, fever, chills, sores or swelling show, medical attention should be sought immediately.
According to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), high levels of bacteria have been detected along the coast. While no beaches are closed, a warning has been issued for coastal waters from Gulfport to Ocean Springs.
MDEQ advises against swimming or other water contact in these areas until water samples indicate decreased levels of bacteria.
Photo: Lucas Jans | Flickr