A 78-year-old Texas man died after an agonizing two-week battling against flesh-eating bacteria he contracted on a fishing trip last month.
Jerry Sebek, of San Marcos, did not get in the water, did not have any open wounds, and did not have any health issues that would weaken his immune system.
And yet, hours after returning from Turtle Bay on June 13, he became delirious, vomiting, and struggling to breathe.
His daughter Kim took him to a clinic, where doctors said it looked like heat stroke.
But the next morning, he was taken to hospital, where he tested positive for vibrio, an aggressive type of bacteria that eats away at muscle and tissue.
His right arm, where the infection started, was ‘skinned like a deer,’ Kim told SanAntonio.com.
Despite amputating his arm and leg, and putting him in a medically-induced coma, doctors could not defeat the infection.
‘I’m still a little shocked and in disbelief,’ Kim told the site.
‘Dad was a wonderful family man who loved to hunt and fish and do things out in the water.’
She added: ‘We’ve been coming here [to Turtle Bay]for years and this is just an unfortunate thing that happened.’
Flesh-eating bacteria is not new to the US, but cases are becoming more common – particularly in the South – as temperatures rise, making the water more hospitable to vibrio, and to necrotizing fasciitis, the flesh-eating bacteria vibrio transforms into.
And it could be stretching up into the Northeast, too.
A study published last month by the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and Cooper University Hospital showed a sharp rise in cases of vibrio diagnosed in Delaware and New Jersey, which have historically been too cold to harbor the bacteria.